Director's Statement: Memorial Day
Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon E. Panetta on Memorial Day
May 27, 2010
This weekend, America will pay tribute to its military heroes—patriots in an unbroken line of valor from the Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan—who have died in service to their country. Because of their courage and dedication, we live in freedom.
As we at CIA honor their memory, we solemnly recall our own heroes whose stars grace our Memorial Wall. We remember those whose stars are newly added, and all who have over the years given their lives in the line of duty. Our officers never expect recognition beyond our Agency family. But, when the public does learn the details of their sacrifice, the support for our people and mission is deeply inspiring.
Since the attack in Khowst last December, we have seen countless expressions of gratitude and sympathy throughout America. On Monday, the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, New York, will send a historic B-17 bomber to drop flowers into the waters off Manhattan—near the site of the World Trade Center—in memory of the seven men and women we lost. Tributes like that celebrate not only the CIA heroes known to the American people, but those whose names and accomplishments must remain secret.
On Memorial Day 2010, we at CIA reaffirm our sacred commitment to carry on the vital work of our fallen colleagues, and to protect the great nation for which they and so many of their brothers and sisters in uniform have given their lives. Our nation is safer because of their sacrifice. We must never forget what true patriotism is all about.
Leon E. Panetta