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Gen. Jack Keane reflects on Memorial Day, when America honors those who 'risk everything'

Gen. Jack Keane reflects on Memorial Day, when America honors those who ‘risk everything’

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Memorial Day may be commemorated differently this year because of the coronavirus pandemic — but the day will still be meaningful, Fox News senior strategic military analyst Gen. Jack Keane said Saturday on “America’s News HQ.”

“Americans are always going to have a very profound memory of what took place this year. And yeah, yeah, we will not have bands playing and flags raised and taps playing certainly in our cemeteries,” Keane said. “But I do think because we’re not doing a lot of other things either, possibly more Americans will be able to reflect on the significance of this day.”


Keane told anchor Arthel Neville he spent some time early Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery, which he called “the most sacred place in America.”

The general spoke of the loved ones who visited the graves of soldiers who lost their lives and the American flags placed on more than 400,000 graves there.

“So the cemetery on a bright, shiny day, its chest is popping out and it’s always the same for me,” Keane said. “It has an eerie silence about it, which I think is forces you to come to grips with what’s there.”

An Old Guard takes part in “Flags-In”, an annual event where a small American flag is placed in front of more than 240,000 headstones of U.S. service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., May 23, 2019. (Reuters)

Keane spoke about his connection to the landmark cemetery — through his time in the service and his experience on 9/11.

“It began as a young platoon leader and company commander in Vietnam. So I go to the cemetery and my entire life is there. You know, from, from the wars that I fought in and from the wars, I had troops under my command that fought in throughout my entire adult life,” Keane said. “And I was in the Pentagon on 9/11. I lost 85 teammates. And there’s a special part of the Arlington National Cemetery just for them. And it’s actually as close as you can get to the Pentagon, is where those graves are. And then I’ve been associated with troops ever since then, and we’ve lost them as well.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Keane said he believes it’ll give Americans more time to reflect on the importance of Memorial Day.

“So it’s a special day for Americans, to be sure, and I think there’s there’s actually more time to reflect on what this day means to us today,” Keane said.


Keane also reflected on his troops gave their lives for their country.

“None of them wanted to die, certainly. What’s different about them is that they were willing to and they were willing to put at risk everything that they care about, you know, having a long life, having friends in your life, being a parent, having love in your life to love and to be loved,” Keane said. “People said, ‘Why would they do that?’ I’ve been around these troops forever and I think the answer is, it’s pretty simple. … It’s out of a very simple yet profound sense of duty. And it’s also because they do it for one another. And I think that’s true honor. And we can never, ever take that devotion for granted.”

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