Speeches
U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

Adm. Daryl Caudle

USS Intrepid, New York

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command

31 May 2022 (Remark as prepared for delivery)

Good morning everyone – and thank you Mel for your kind introduction.
  • 157 years ago, in the aftermath of America’s bloodiest war, the Civil War – a war for not only for the future course, but for the very soul of this nation – families and communities grieved the loss of more than 620,000 military deaths.
  • As the years passed, Americans far and wide had begun holding springtime tributes to the fallen, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
  • And in 1868, John A. Logan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of veterans of the Union Army, chose May 30th as ‘Decoration Day,’ a nationwide day of remembrance for the fallen.
  • That first Decoration Day, the 30th of May, 1968, President James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery – and he began with these words:
    • “I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung.”
  • With each conflict since, whether upon these shores or on distant battlefields, this day has come to memorialize all of those who have selflessly laid their lives down upon the altar of freedom
  • And so, it is a great honor and privilege for me to represent all six branches of our Armed Forces on Memorial Day here at the Intrepid Museum.
  • On behalf of all our nation’s service members, I want to thank each and every one of you, and all those around the world, whose staunch dedication, tireless devotion, and endless support provide us the stable foundation we as America’s warfighters, need to defend this great nation.
  • So, to Ms. Susan Marenoff-Zausner, Mr. Bruce Mosler, Mr. Mel Immergut, and the entire Intrepid Museum team – thank you for inviting me to speak and participate in today’s ceremony – and thank you for your unwavering efforts in honoring our nation’s heroes and inspiring generations of Americans.
  • Also, to Mayor Adams – and to the patriotic people of New York City – thank you for extraordinary hospitality during Fleet Week and for so graciously sharing your wonderful city with the men and women who wear the cloth of our nation.
  • It is because of people like you, and cities like this, that our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard are the most formidable integrated combat team the world has ever known.
 
************* LEGACY *************
  • This year’s Fleet Week was an overwhelming success – it was absolutely great to once again see our Navy and Coast Guard ships docked in the harbor again after a two-year pandemic hiatus – and without question, I know the over 2,200 Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen loved every minute of it.
  • I truly hope that each of you had a chance to talk with some service members this week, because if you did, I am sure you came to understand the same sentiment that our senior Department of Defense leaders in Washington know…
    • That our service members are our greatest competitive advantage against the malevolent forces around the world – those who are intent on disrupting the peace and prosperity that our forbearers fought so hard to secure.
  • Since our nation’s founding, our people have fought together as one - in defense of America – to preserve the American dream – to safeguard the promise of a better future – and to uphold the proclamation of ‘We the People.’
  • Those who have donned the cloth of our nation have hailed not only from North America, but from all corners of the world, and from every walk of life – each with different backgrounds and experiences – and together, each personify what is truly ‘best’ about our country – our resolve and inability to ever give up.
  • It is important to understand that service members are not simply born – they are forged – forged by their commitment to service through sacrifice, forged by their bonds of brother and sisterhood, forged by the values and legacy of their services.
  • That legacy is defined by a long list of Americans whose courage, heroism, and sacrifice upheld the highest tradition of what our nation stands for, and forged the unbreakable bonds of partnership, peace, and prosperity around the world in defense of the American people and our partners and allies.
  • And it is for them, that today, Americans everywhere take time to reflect upon the honorable service and heroic self-sacrifice of the countless sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents, family, and friends – who proudly wore our nation’s cloth and paid the ultimate price.
 
************* CLOSING *************
 
  • I see the best of our nation in each and every service member, in every military spouse, in every military dependent and family member.  Their support is what underwrites the excellence of our Armed Forces.
  • As my wife Donna has told me frequently throughout my career, those who wait, serve too.  This day allows us to reflect on the countless family members who have waited – waited endless days for the return of their loved one, only to learn in despair, as Abraham Lincoln described at Gettysburg, they had given “the last full measure of devotion.”
  • And so, in closing, I would like to leave you with a few more words from President Lincoln, which I believe gets to the heart and soul of Memorial Day:
    • “Honor to the Solider, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause.
    • Honor to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as best he can, the same cause.
    • Honor to him, only less than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle.”
  • May God Bless all those who laid down their lives in service to this great nation – and to their families who shared so selflessly their loved ones with us all.
  • May God Bless our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardsmen, Guardians, and Veterans everywhere.
  • And May God Bless this wonderful nation and all those we serve to protect.  Thank you.

 
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