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Honoring America's Heroes

May 28, 2007
Columns

This Memorial Day, I join you in honoring and supporting our troops, both past and present, who sacrificed greatly to protect the freedom, prosperity, and peace of mind we enjoy today. Whether observing a moment of silence or attending a tribute to honor our soldiers’ sacrifices, we are a nation that must never forget those who selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life.
 
For centuries, men and women have courageously strapped on their boots and worn the uniform of the United States. Thousands of courageous Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen have given their lives so that we may live in freedom. On distant battlefields, our troops have been a force of good in this world by liberating the oppressed, protecting freedom, encouraging peace, and promoting the courage and convictions that best represent the heart of America.
 
Today, we remember patriots who fought in places such as Bunker Hill, France, Italy, the South Pacific, Vietnam, and those who currently serve and sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Easter Sunday, I met with some of our brave men and women in uniform confronting a fierce enemy in Ramadi, Iraq. During lunch with the troops, I listened to them about the new strategy in Iraq. While the troops described how much they missed their children and spouses back at home, they reminded me of their determination to complete their mission in Iraq. That commitment to country and mission is something that all Americans should remember, not just on a holiday, but every day until all of our men and women are home safe. We recognize those American troops serving now in harms’ way and the considerable sacrifices their families also make. On a daily basis, these troops perform brilliantly when confronting a brutal enemy, and they follow the honorable example of the men and women who served before them.
 
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “America is best described by one word, freedom.” Throughout our history, maintaining that freedom has come at a cost. We must honor this sacrifice, especially our own local heroes by providing the resources necessary to take care of our veterans coming home from the theatre of battle, and ensuring that their service is honored appropriately long after their death. We are all anxiously awaiting completion of the new national veterans cemetery in Bakersfield, which I have been monitoring intensely, and internments should begin in November 2008.
 
On this Memorial Day, we pay tribute. The blessings of liberty were bestowed by the Almighty, and have been protected by the sacrifices of our brave men and women in the Armed Forces. We forever live in their debt.