Final Memorial Day Message from Defense Secretary Gates (Video)

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates

It's the Thursday before Memorial Day, a time when most folks are anticipating a three-day weekend and perhaps trying to figure out whether to barbecue hot dogs, hamburgers, or both. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where the government isn't allowed to tell us how to celebrate our holidays. But it might be nice for those of us NOT in the military to remember the sacrifice of those who are, and also of their families.

That's what Defense Secretary Robert Gates would like us to do. Gates is winding down as Secretary of Defense, a post he has held since his appointment by former President George W. Bush in 2006. Gates leaves his job June 30. According to the DoD, Gates holds a special distinction in American history:

Why the use of Dr. you ask? I was wondering the same thing. Turns out, Gates earned a doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University, according to the DoD.

The DoD has posted Gates' final message to the American people as Defense Secretary, and it's quite emotional: