Memorial Day Message

On Memorial Day, we remember and honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. And we also look to the future. To the ways we can honor their legacies and to the ways they have given us strength and help propel us into that future even as we cherish their memories.

NASA is in the future business. For more than 50 years, we’ve helped to bring things into reality that were just dreams. It’s a dangerous business we do – this exploring space – it always has been and always will be. Each time men and women board a spacecraft, their actions carry great risk along with the opportunity for great discoveries and the chance to push the envelope of our human achievement.

We will always honor the Apollo 1, STS-51L Challenger and STS-107 Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family who lost their lives supporting NASA’s mission of exploration. We thank them and their families for their extraordinary sacrifices in the service of our nation.

The Marine Corps was my life for 34 years. It will always be a part of me. Along the way I served with and commanded many fine Marines and sailors, some of whom lost their lives serving this nation. I remember them all and ask that you remember and honor all our military members on this occasion of Memorial Day.

I joined the military to follow in the footsteps of my father and uncles, who had served in World War II, and to be part of something larger – to do something for my country and be involved on a national scale.

I am privileged to have served with so many fine men and women, who took their military training and applied it to NASA and other agencies and organizations to help create a future that was not only free, but expanded horizons for people across the globe.

To friends and family of service members lost in combat, we honor your great sacrifice. To those of you still serving or who have served, I know you carry with you the same large debt I do to our colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice and enriched our lives through their work.

It’s my honor as NASA administrator to help our nation maintain its leadership in space and to push the limits of human experience. National service is about serving that ideal of our nation — that we do big things – things that benefit the whole world. The highest compliment we can pay those who have died for our country is to take action today to keep unfolding the future for which they fought and died.

As we gather with family and friends on Memorial Day, we celebrate the blessings of our hard-won freedom and remember those who made it possible. I wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday.