As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Pentagon River Parade Grounds, September 18, 2015
Flag Folders - U.S. airmen fold the U.S. Flag during the POW/MIA Remembrance and Retreat ceremony on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 17, 2015. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford
Good morning. Thank you, Chairman, for those kind words and above all for your service. You’ve made it matter every day you’ve been our chairman.
Now on November 20, 1943, American Marines and sailors began an assault on Betio, an island in the Pacific, on the Tarawa Atoll. The United States believed securing Tarawa was critical, but it was so heavily defended that one enemy commander claimed, quote, “a million Americans couldn't take Tarawa in 100 years.”
Well he was wrong. Americans took Tarawa in 76 hours…but at a heavy cost. Over those three days, more than 1,000 Americans died and more than 2,000 were wounded. Too many were buried in graves quickly lost to history.
Senator Cotton, distinguished guests, colleagues past and present, thank you for being here on this important day to talk about one of our most important commitments: to members of service like them, to bring them, our men and women in uniform, like those lost at Tarawa, home to their families.
Thank you as well to the family and veterans organizations whose advocacy helped establish National POW/MIA Recognition Day and raise the POW/MIA flag over the Pentagon and above buildings around the country. And, most importantly, thank you to the veterans, including many former POWs, and the families of those still missing who join us – you honor us with your presence. read more>>>