Secretary Robert Wilkie’s Memorial Day 2020 Message



Our country has been blessed with men and women whose sacrifices allowed us to flourish as individuals, as a society, and as a Nation. On Memorial Day, we pause to remember, honor and express our gratitude to all those Americans who lost their lives in uniform.

The names of many of them are forever memorialized in our Department of Veterans Affairs, State Veterans, and American Battle Monuments cemeteries across our country and around the world.

It is true that this Memorial Day is somewhat different. As we fight the Coronavirus pandemic, we do not gather as we normally would to honor our nation’s heroes. But we can still remember and honor them by spending a quiet moment paying homage to their courage and sacrifice.

I also encourage all Americans to pay tribute to deceased Veterans by visiting the Veterans Legacy Memorial. This site contains a memorial page for each Veteran interred in a VA national cemetery. Starting Thursday, May 14, online visitors will be able to leave a “tribute” text in memory and appreciation for a Veteran’s service.

At the end of his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln asked that we remember the obligations our nation has to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Civil War.

His iconic speech, etched in granite at the Lincoln Memorial, still guides those of us privileged to work at VA today:

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan …”

Those words are the basis of our VA mission to care for our living Veterans and their families. That’s why, later this year, we will memorialize in bronze Lincoln’s charge to the nation in all our VA cemeteries.

From generation to generation, Americans have answered the call to duty from Bunker Hill to Baghdad. In small skirmishes and epic battles, Americans of every generation have stepped forward to fight for freedom when called upon.

And, they are doing so today as they stand guard across our Nation and around the world.

May God bless those we honor today, those currently serving America in uniform, and all our Nation’s Veterans.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Wilkie

Author

Robert Wilkie

The Honorable Robert L. Wilkie was sworn in to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs on July 30, 2018. He also served as the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs from March 28, 2018 to May 29, 2018.

Before confirmation as VA Secretary, Mr. Wilkie served Secretary James Mattis as his Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness—the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training, and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.

Comments

  1. Rusty Allen Reed    

    I wish to ask God to bless our brothers and sisters who served and sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedoms of all. Being a veteran myself I pause to remember all the ones I have come to know in the past who served and passed and those who are still alive. I thank the VA for all the work they have done for the Brothers and Sisters and me. In His Name May our Lord and Savior bless you all!

  2. lynia p elmore    

    Mr Wilkie that you for recognizing women veterans also. We always get left out, but yet we serve along side of the men.

  3. JK    

    Thank you for your statement Mr. Wilkie.
    Navy Vet

  4. Peter J. Boylan III    

    Great job Robert! Enjoyed listening to your speech. Let’s grab a PJ’s Coffee the next time you are in NOLA.

    Best Regards, Your Friend,

    Peter

  5. Patriot Daniel C. Vola    

    Secretary Wilkie I wish to thank you and The Trump Administration for the contribution of your dedication to bringing The VA into the 21st Century. I am. Fifty year Vietnam Veteran and hopefully you will continue your mission for several more years. God Bless you and The USA .

  6. James Michael McFadden    

    My local VA Clinic cancelled my appointments and rescheduled my annual physical to a “phone appointment.” You can imagine the ability of my doc to provide a professional appointment without recent lab data. The explanation provided was my VA facility and lab was closed because “we are making certain your health is protected.” “We will call you when we determine it is safe … meanwhile thank you for your service.” That was several months ago and I have yet to receive a phone call indicating my VA is open and ready to serve me … (for my service?). While I was waiting to be thanked for my service, I was called by a civilian hospital where they conducted an EKG, and operated on one of my knees and have advised me that I can come in and have a lab series whenever I wish. Meanwhile, I understand the VA (Federal employees) continue to be paid from my tax dollars for not working … at least to the degree that they demonstrate effort that thanks me for my service by truly looking out for my health. No Sir … this is NOT my father’s VA as much as I wish it were. My relationship with the VA will never be the same. Please feel free to contact me by email or telephone. Perhaps you know now to motivate your/our employees to really provide a priority to our health care.

  7. Ben Doogood    

    What is the name of the person responsible, office name, phone number, email, physical address, city, state of the VA public servants responsible for siting in their chair, using a computer, geting the info required to pay us our stimulus and phyiscally handing it to the Treasury. Why is the no update. Why are we waiting, Why must we ask for these details. Who at the VA is responsible for giving the info to Treasury. What have the done so far? Whose names did they give the tresury and what date did they hand it over. What is the address, name, phone, email of who at treasury they gave the information to? Why must we ask these questions. Why are we waiting for months on end with zero information. How many veterans were paid so far. how many veterans are waiting to get paid. When are the veterans who got paid paid? When are the veterans who didnt get paid going to get paid. What is the date we will get paid? When will the VA stop hiding under the desk and tell us all this information. What is the big secret of what date who got paid, and what date we will get paid. What is so hard about paying disabled veterans? When is the VA going to stop hiding and tell us the date we will get paid.

    When will VSOs Congress the Media answer the question. WHAT OFFICE AT VA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOING THEIR JOB AND HANDING OVER THE INFO TO TREASURY TO PAY THE STIMULUS. WHAT OFFICE AT TREASURY DID THEY GIVE IT TO. WHAT DAY DID THEY GIVE IT. WHAT NAMES DID THEY GIVE TREASRY. WHAT DAY WILL WE GET PAID. WHY IS THE VA PRETENDING NOTHING IS WRONG. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET PAID. WHAT DID THE VA DO, WHAT OFFICE AT THE VA IS RESPONSIBLE. WHEN WILL WE GET PAID. WHEN WILL WE GET ANSWERS. WHEN DO WE GET TOLD, WHY DO WE HAVE TO ASK FOR THIS INFORMATION. WHAT IS WRONG WITH DOING THIS JOB 2 MONTHS AGO. WHY ARE VETERANS STILL WAITING FOR HELP.

  8. Randall D Suit    

    I am so distressed by the condition of our country that there is even a possibility America will be destroyed by people that don’t love being an American and not honoring those who sacrificed so much for freedom….I cry.

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