Web Stories Monday, June 24
Newsletter

Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account – free of charge.

Please enter a valid email address.

By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive. To access the content, check your email and follow the instructions provided.

Having trouble? Click here.

Pristine white marble gravestones stand sentinel over the remains of American war heroes killed in distant lands in defense of liberty. 

The images, silent rows of Christian crosses and Jewish Stars of David, stir the spirit of millions of Americans. They appear in movies and documentaries, inspire songs and tributes, and attract millions of visitors each year.

“The Americans lying in these battlefields continue to serve the nation,” Charles K. Djou, secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.

WORLD WAR II VET, 99, GRADUATES HIGH SCHOOL ALONGSIDE HIS GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER

The numbers are sobering. About 234,000 United States servicemembers killed in wartime are interred in 26 cemeteries near where they fell across 17 nations around the world. These war heroes rest in peace today — yet they remain on duty, 

Djou’s agency, based in Washington, D.C., manages those 26 cemeteries around the world, plus 31 international memorials to U.S. war dead.

“They continue to serve as a reminder to this world that America really truly is a unique nation and the American people are a unique people,” he said of the fallen. 

“They serve as a reminder that we stand up for those values that we believe in and that we are willing to send our youngest and our finest and our best citizens to go die for these values.”

“The Americans lying in these battlefields continue to serve the nation.”

Djou was appointed secretary of the American Battlefield Monuments Commission by President Joe Biden in 2022.

He discussed his agency’s mission and its plans for Memorial Day this year — Monday, May 27 — as well as for the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. That dramatic invasion of Europe, the most momentous in world military history, took place on June 6, 1944. 

World War II cerremony

Djou has served for more than 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. Now a colonel, he deployed with the 10th Mountain Division to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011-2012 during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

Before that mission, he represented Hawaii as a Republican in the U.S. Congress. 

In the interview, Djou shared an impassioned testament to the values of the United States and its unique role in world history. 

AMERICAN CULTURE QUIZ: TEST YOUR COMMAND OF STATE BIRDS, STATE SONGS, POP STARS AND POLITICS

He paid tribute to the heroic role America’s young people have played in the defense of “freedom, liberty and democracy” — not only on their own soil, but in the distant lands where they rest today and where they “continue to serve.”

Here’s a selection of his comments.

‘America at our best’ 

“I recognize that the United States of America has not always or necessarily been perfect,” said Djou. “By no means are we a perfect nation or a perfect people. But I do believe America at its finest, America at its best, is reflected in the mission of the American Battle Monuments Commission.”

Normandy cemetery

“America — when we are at our best, unlike any other country in the world — we send our young, our finest and our brightest not to go fight for a king or crown. We don’t send them to fight for a pope or faith. We don’t send them to fight for conquest.”

“The only thing America asks for in exchange for that sacrifice are a few small plots of land to bury our dead.” 

Rather, he said, “we send our young Americans to go fight for words and values and those words are freedom, liberty and democracy.”

And “then when the job is done, unlike any other country in the world, we Americans go home. We go home when the job is done. And the only thing America asks for in exchange for that sacrifice are a few small plots of land to bury our dead.” 

Boy at military cemetery

‘Made the ultimate sacrifice’

“My agency’s responsibility is to manage and maintain those few plots of land so that America remembers, so that the world remembers, what America stands for, what America is all about,” said Djou.

WORLD WAR II LOVE LETTERS REVEAL PASSIONATE YOUNG MAN ‘I NEVER KNEW,’ DAUGHTER WRITES IN NEW BOOK

“These soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield continue to serve today,” he said. 

“They continue to serve as a reminder to this world that America really truly is a unique nation and the American people are a unique people. They serve as a reminder that we stand up for those values that we believe in and that we are willing to send our youngest and our finest and our best citizens to go die for these values.”

Added Djou, “I get it today in the 21st century in modern America. I know a lot of Americans are very frustrated about the banality sometimes you see on social media or on American television. I know Americans are very frustrated about the divisions they frequently see in our government.”

‘Will America still rise to the occasion?’

“I know there’s a lot of people out there [who] continue to ask the question: ‘Does America still [have] it?'” said Djou. “‘Do the American people still have it within them? Do they still have the same belief in freedom and liberty? Will America still rise to the occasion and do great things?'”

Miltary cemetery by candlelight

Djou noted, “I’m here to remind America — my agency and our staff are here to remind America — that every single one of these sites and these graves, whether in Normandy or down in southern France, or in Tunisia or Italy or Netherlands or Belgium or the Philippines, that this spirit of sacrifice is part of America’s DNA. This is core of what it means to be an American.”

He also said, “When Americans look around and get disappointed about what [they] see on TikTok or on Facebook, or what they see on American television, and they see how trivial it is — at that same time, these soldiers lie under these crosses and these Stars of David all around the world. They give us a daily reminder today and into the future that America really offers something special and unique in this world.”

US military cemetery

And “they remind us,” Djou told Fox News Digital, “that we still have this greatness in our American soul.”

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Read the full article here

Share.

Leave A Reply

© 2024 Wuulu. All Rights Reserved.