‘Captain of its own fate’: Trump honors fallen on Memorial Day

President Trump honored the nation’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day as embodying the country’s fighting spirit and declared that Americans are the “captains of their own fate” who will rise to the occasion again to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. “As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family who has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans. Together, we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and even greater heights,” Mr. Trump said in a speech at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. He delivered the speech as the country approached a grim milestone of nearly 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has swept the globe since its discovery in Wuhan, China, in December. More than 345,000 deaths worldwide are attributed to COVID-19. “As our brave warriors have shown us from the nation’s earliest days, America is the captain of its own fate,” the president said. “No obstacle, no challenge and no threat is a match for the sheer determination of the American people.” The dramatic shutdowns of daily human activities and imposition of social distancing rules, which have left the economy in ruins, colored Memorial Day events. Ceremonies honoring the fallen looked very different this year. Arlington National Cemetery, where Mr. Trump participated in a wreath-laying ceremony before traveling to Baltimore, was closed to the public under stay-at-home orders. At Fort McHenry, the roughly 200 people attending the event were spaced several feet apart and most wore masks. Flags flew at half-staff at the White House and across the country to honor those who have died from COVID-19. Democrats have been critical of Mr. Trump’s handling of the crisis and his push to reopen state economies. Almost 39 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past nine weeks from government-mandated business closures. The president and Congress have spent nearly $3 trillion on relief measures.

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