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This Memorial Day weekend, I hope all Americans will take a moment to honor the service of those who have lost their lives defending our nation. America is a beacon of freedom and democracy today, in no small part because of those who throughout history stood in defense of our values and principles.

We must also remain united in our commitment to today’s active and reserve service members, our veterans, and their families.

At USDA, we understand the special contributions of rural America to our armed services. More than six million veterans live in rural America – and a disproportionate number of today’s service members hail from small towns and rural communities.

USDA’s staff across America includes more than 10,000 veterans and our team works hard every day to strengthen services in rural areas that help veterans and their families. This includes everything from health clinics and telemedicine services, to distance learning opportunities and training for those who want to start a farm or ranch.