To Honor and Remember
May 27, 2011
To Honor and Remember
By: Congressman Tim Huelskamp
Nearly 150 years ago, the United States observed its first Memorial Day. Designed to honor and remember those who were killed in the Civil War, the tradition has become an important reminder that we must pay tribute to those who have given their lives in the name of American freedom and liberty. Since then, more than 430,000 American men and women have died in the line of duty. Their sacrifices are the reason why you and I enjoy full exercise of the rights we have today.
Earlier this spring I had the incredible privilege of greeting an Honor Flight of WWII veterans who had come from Kansas to Washington, D.C. to visit Arlington Cemetery and the WWII Memorial. It was a very moving occasion to stand with these men as they watched the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Many of these men likely knew one of the nearly 300,000 American casualties of that war, and have lived with the memories of those losses for their entire lives. One can only imagine the thoughts and memories evoked in their minds during the ceremony. They were there in Washington to honor and remember those who gave their lives to protect and defend freedom.
America stands as the symbol of freedom to the world, but remembrances like Memorial Day remind us that freedom is not free. The hundreds of thousands of men and women who bravely fought and died for America have paid the ultimate price for freedom, and for that we should be most grateful. Whether standing near the miles of headstones in Arlington National Cemetery or beside a sole gravesite in Western Kansas of a fallen soldier, it is incumbent on each one of us to never forget the sacrifices made in the name of our country. Grieving parents, widows, children, and siblings deserve to know the heartfelt appreciation of a grateful nation. In my family, six of my eight uncles who served our nation in the military were abroad all at one time. I know the toll such service can place on the families back at home.
So while television advertisements tell us that Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and to commemorate the weekend with barbecues, let us recall the true and sole purpose of the day: to honor and to remember those who have sacrificed for America and for what she stands, making it possible for you and I to enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have. This Memorial Day, I ask you to remember specifically Sergeant First Class Clifford Beattie and Private First Class Ramon Mora Junior, who were assigned to Ft. Riley and who were killed in the line of duty on May 22, 2011. Their families need our prayers today.
May God continue to bless America, to comfort those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty, and to watch over those who are serving her in harm’s way.