Remembering Our Heroes
America continues to be the greatest democracy in the world because of the freedoms and choices we have as Americans, but we must always remember that our liberties do not come without a price. Every day, the brave men and women in our Armed Forces risk their lives - and too frequently make the ultimate sacrifice – to defend and preserve our freedom and way of life.
Since the American Revolution, our men and women in uniform have continued to fight to protect us here at home and abroad to liberate others from oppression and strife. This Memorial Day, we pay respect to our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Guardsmen, past and present, by honoring their sacrifices and the sacrifices made by their families. We remember their incredible sense of duty and their common faith in and dedication to freedom and liberty.
Recently, two local fallen heroes, Marine Sgt. Adan Gonzalez, Jr. and Army Sgt. Christopher Muniz, were honored at this year’s Kern County Red Cross Real Heroes Dinner. These two brave men gave the greatest sacrifice for this nation and their countrymen, and there aren’t words to express our gratitude and our reverence. These heroic Americans will never be forgotten.
This Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C., I will have the honor to visit with 22 local World War II Veterans participating in Honor Flight Kern County, and meet two local veterans, Wesley Leon-Barrientos and Jeremy Staat, concluding their inspirational cross-country Wall to Wall bike ride. As we visit such solemn sites as the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Vietnam War Memorial, we remember those who laid down their lives for us.
Each year on Memorial Day, as I walk onto Union Cemetery and Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery, it is a constant reminder of the sacrifices our community has made. We have heroes in our community, like Iraq War veteran Evan Morgan, who will speak about his experiences as a soldier and the unimaginable sacrifice he gave for our country when he lost both of his legs in combat. We will also be thinking of another soldier from our community, Lance Corporal Jeremiah Thein, who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan recently, and is still in the hospital. We owe our freedom to these men and women in our own communities and around the nation who have put our country, and all of us whom they have never met, above their own lives. We will not forget their sacrifices or their service.
While we enjoy the company of our friends and family this Memorial Day, Judy and I ask you to keep our fallen heroes, those serving here at home and our soldiers currently stationed abroad who cannot be with their loved ones today in your thoughts and prayers. Let all of us in our community take time to express our gratitude to those who serve and sacrifice.
May God bless them and their families, and may God bless the United States of America.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy