On this Memorial Day, I write to you as a member of your team, squad, platoon, or part of your command. Together we chewed the same dirt, swam in the same waters, wore the same uniform, and shed the same tears for our fallen brothers and sisters who have been laid to rest under the same flag.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines—we are the select few who love this country more than we love ourselves. We are never alone, no matter where we are, because our experiences bind us together. We honor those who have gone before us to fight and defend our freedom and they trust us to continue to honor the privilege and deep responsibility it is to maintain that freedom.
Veterans, I salute you. We have been the tip of the spear and the hand that guides it thru the enemy. Despite it all, you have made me smile when the chips were down. You picked me up when I needed it the most. You came to my rescue when I thought I was finished. We must help the world learn what we know, these men and women who have fallen did so in the most selfless of ways they laid down their life for a brother. For a brother they knew and for the ones they never met. Their families are without so that others are safe and free.
Let us never forget the ones that did not make it back home.
When the call comes, your mind is overwhelmed with emotion, as if you've been punched in the gut, unable to find air for a breath. None of us thought out loud that we may not come home but it remained an unspoken fear. We prepared our families with optimism and cheer while putting the plans in place in case of the worst. We outwardly portrayed invincibility, but when the time came to pass for one our brothers, the shock was indescribable. The memory of their faces is forever seared in my mind and on my heart.
To my fellow Americans, on this Memorial Day when you sit down to have dinner, pull up an extra chair and think about every father, mother, sister, brother, son or daughter that will never see their loved one again. They are the ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Remember to pray for our servicemen and women who are on active duty and their families back at home. They are in the bubble, prepared to defend our nation at a moment's notice. They stand their post so that we can sleep in peace.
Never forget that those who gave their lives are the best of us, and we must carry their honor and their legacy by sharing with the generations to come that freedom has been bought for them at a very high price, by the few, the proud and the fallen.
Click here to watch a message from Senator Frank Hoagland.