AFMC Memorial Day message Published May 25, 2017 By Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski Air Force Materiel Command WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- This year marks our nation’s 149th annual celebration of Memorial Day. Many will celebrate the day surrounded by friends and family, watching hometown parades and relaxing outdoors. While we pause as a nation to enjoy the unofficial beginning of summer, let us never forget the true reason for the day. Originally known as Decoration Day when it was first established in 1868, Memorial Day honors the more than 434,000 service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. These brave men and women gave their lives so we may relish in the freedoms we enjoy today. While these heroes are no longer with us, their accomplishments echo across the pages of history for all eternity. Less than seven percent of our nation has, or is currently serving in our great military. As you partake in this weekend’s celebrations I ask you to take a moment to remember those no longer with us. Each one of those Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen were someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife or friend. We are duty bound to honor and cherish the memories of those no longer with us. From this day and beyond, let us forever hold close the true meaning of Memorial Day. I am proud to serve with each and every one of you and want to personally thank you for your commitment to the defense of our nation.