What comes to mind when you think of Memorial Day? Perhaps backyard BBQs, quality time with friends and family, or a relaxing day at the pool. For many, this three-day weekend serves as the official start to summer, and for all, a welcome respite from the long stretch of chilly months. 

Even as we get together with friends and loved ones to celebrate the holiday and enjoy the seasonal weather, we must stop and consider what lies at the core of Memorial Day: remembering our country’s fallen heroes. Because of the selfless sacrifice of brave service men and women, we are able to live with the rights and liberties that provide us with a secure and enriching life every day.

Honoring both our active duty and veteran military personnel is a necessity. However, we especially owe our utmost gratitude toward the countless heroes who gave their lives—the ultimate sacrifice—in the name of freedom to benefit those they would never have the chance to meet. The many families who have lost a child, parent, spouse, neighbor, or friend to this cause are also worthy of special recognition and honor.   

When I think about the constituents I have had the privilege of meeting who have dealt with this kind of loss, I am once again convinced that there is no way to repay them or their loved one in full. We are forever indebted. The bare minimum, then, is to bear in mind the gravity of their sacrifice and express deep appreciation for their outstanding courage and heroism.

This Memorial Day, may we take the time to remember our fallen heroes, whatever form that may take. I highly encourage everyone to attend events in your community dedicated to honoring these men and women, and to take care to thank a veteran when you cross paths with one. No matter your plans for the holiday weekend, I wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day. And thank you to all our veterans and their families; we will never forget your sacrifice and service to our country.

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