Memorial Day is a special day set aside each year to honor and remember the sacrifices of more than one million Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Both American and French citizens attended the ceremony May 24 at Saint-Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France, to honor and pay their respects to American military members from World War I who were laid to rest in the cemetery.
Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa vice commander, spoke during the ceremony, reflecting upon the many lives that were lost during the battle.
“On this Memorial Day, as we look at all of the headstones before us, it reminds me of what Pericles once said,” Jones said. “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, written not on stone, but in the hearts of men.”
The ceremony also included the U.S. Air Forces in Europe band, the 86th Airlift Wing Honor Guard, an Honor Platoon and a flyover by a C-130J Super Hercules to render honors to those buried in the cemetery.
“Today’s ceremony was humbling for my family and I, as a third generation Airman,” said Major Mike Andrews, USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs deputy director. “To see our French friends honor and recognize the sacrifice of Americans almost one hundred years ago is truly an honor.”