Memorial Day Every Day

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Memorial Day is a day to take time out to give thanks and honor Americans who have given their lives in war so that the rest of us can live in peace.    But for U.S. Air Force chaplain David Broyles, you could say every day is Memorial Day.  Broyles presides over the daily funerals and internment ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Nat sound: Fire!

Somber ceremonies mark the days, months and years at Arlington National Cemetery.

But for U.S. Air Force Chaplain Colonel David Broyles, these sad occasions are not just about mourning. 

Col. David Broyles / USAF Chaplain: "I am not surrounded by death. I am surrounded by life because of the families that come to celebrate life and the life that has touched them." 

Chaplain Broyles trained as a United Methodist minister and joined the Air Force 27 years ago.  He served in Europe and Japan and came to Arlington about a year ago.  It's a challenging post...he presides over as many as four funerals a day.  

Chaplain Broyles: "That's what we're here for, to be busy. I can't think of any greater distinction than to provide ministry to family members of veterans not only of WWII, but of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and to minister to those families on a daily basis."   

Chaplain Broyles always includes personal anecdotes about the deceased that go beyond their military service. 

Chaplain Broyles: "You're ministering to those families who come and who have stories to share, who have words of thanks to give to the United States."

Chaplain Broyles says he gives thanks every day for the chance to serve his country here...and to serve God at the same time. 


Pvt. William Henry Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry was the first military service man interred in Arlington National Cemetery, 140 years ago, on May 13, 1864.  Two presidents are buried there also -  William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy.