“Since the first volley of gunfire in the revolution, brave Americans in every generation have answered the call of duty, and won victory for freedom in its hour of need,” Trump said during his speech.
The president was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary General James Mattis, Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford, and his national security advisor Lt. General H.R. McMaster.
“We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced in to gunfire, roared into battle, and ran into hell to face down evil,” Trump said during his speech. “They made their sacrifice not for fame, or for money, or even for glory, but for country.”
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior advisor Kellyanne Conway were spotted at the event as well as former Senator Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth.
Many in the crowd cheered wildly after Trump took the stage at the memorial ceremony, momentarily interrupting the somber mood at the cemetery. General Mattis was also welcomed by cheers and applause as he spoke and introduced Trump.
“In a world awash in change some things stand firm, some things are as Plato said, good and true and beautiful,” Mattis said, “The kid on the line who never had a chance to grow old will always be there to teach us that suffering has meaning if it is accepted out of love for others.”
Trump specifically recognized General John F. Kelly’s son Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
“We grieve with you, we honor you, and we pledge to you that we will always remember Robert, and what he did for all of us,” Trump said.
Trump also remembered Army Sniper Christopher Horton and Special Forces Captain Andrew D. Byers, both recently killed in Afghanistan as their family members attended the ceremony.
“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.