Trump honors fallen service members and Gold Star families in Memorial Day speech

The president relayed stories of those who sacrificed for the U.S.

ByABC News
May 29, 2017, 12:19 PM

— -- President Donald Trump offered a solemn tribute to America's service members during a Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, honoring those who gave their lives in war and those serving in defense of the country.

"Here at this hallowed shrine, we honor the noblest among us, the men and women who paid the ultimate price for victory and for freedom," said Trump. "We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced into gunfire, roared into battle and ran into hell to face down evil. They made their sacrifice not for fame or for money or even for glory but for country."

At the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater he relayed stories of those who served and urged Americans to continue with the day's theme of remembrance.

"We can never replace them. We cannot repay them. But we can always remember. And today that is what we are doing," Trump said.

In the speech he paid tribute to Army Spc. Christopher Horton, Special Forces Capt. Andrew Byers and Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, the son of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly — whose family members were in attendance.

"And while we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying," Trump said to the Gold Star families.

During last year's presidential campaign, he notably engaged in a dispute with Capt. Humayun Khan's Gold Star parents, who spoke out against Trump in a Democratic National Convention speech.

Trump decried being "viciously attacked" by the Khans, who are Muslim, and questioned why Ghazala Khan, Humayun Khan's mother, did not speak as she stood next to her husband, Khizr Khan, at the convention, during which they said Trump "sacrificed nothing" for the country. Trump's comments received pushback from members of both major political parties.

On Monday, Trump also made special mention of former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, who sat in the audience at the ceremony, thanking Dole for his service in World War II.

Earlier in the morning, the president visited the cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where he placed a wreath and reflected silently as a bugle player performed taps.

This was Trump's first public appearance since returning from a nine-day foreign trip.