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On Monday we celebrated the national holiday of Memorial Day. This is one of America’s most sacred holidays as we remember the men and women over the course of history that have selflessly put their lives on the line to defend our country and protect the freedoms we enjoy each day. To these individuals we owe a debt of great gratitude.
I continue to be amazed by the sacrifice these men and women were willing to make for our nation. Our ancestors put their lives in harm’s way for us. In the wars of history, countless patriotic Americans have died so that we may remain the Land of the Free.
Last week, I had the privilege of visiting the District of Columbia. The National Mall is far and away my favorite thing to see. While there are beautiful monuments for former presidents, the most impressive to me have always been those that memorialize the fallen in wars that stain the pages of history. Standing at the Washington Monument, I had a breathtaking view of the World War II Memorial. At the center of the memorial stands a wall garnished with hundreds of gold stars that commemorate the lives of those lost. Humbling is the only word that seems to suffice in describing those stars that represent how sacred our freedoms are.
Just beyond the grandeur of the World War II Memorial stands a more simplistic wall of remembrance for those who served in Vietnam. Following the black wall from one end to the other and seeing each of the names of those who risked their lives left me with a feeling of gratitude and patriotism. Each of these individuals, whom I have never met, offered their lives so that I might enjoy mine.
Across the Reflecting Pool stands the unique Korean War Veterans Memorial. The centerpiece features several life-sized statues of men trekking through the Korean wilderness. The sight at nightfall is a bit of an eerie one, but a strong reminder of the sacrifice so many have been willing to make nonetheless.
A short drive across the Arlington Memorial Bridge over the Potomac brought me to some of the most sacred ground in all of the country: Arlington National Cemetery. The small white headstones that dot the hillsides of the cemetery’s 600 plus acres overlook the streets of the Capitol. These men and women have selflessly given of their lives and continue to watch over our nation from their graves. The English language will never produce words sufficient enough to describe such a remarkable place.
We celebrate Memorial Day at the end of May each year. Some spend the day on the lake, some host or attend a barbeque, some make it a day of yard work, and some attend firework shows or even enjoy the concert at the Capitol. Memorial Day is a wonderful way to remember the sacrifice our countrymen have made. It is imperative, however, that we not limit paying our respects to those who paid the price of freedom to one day each year. I challenge you to remember daily those who have given their lives and the families who have lost their loved ones. We can never repay those who have passed, but we can ensure that they are never forgotten.