Each year since the Civil War, Americans have set aside time to remember the service of and pay tribute to those courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Their names are forever memorialized in our hallowed cemeteries, lend themselves to our schools and other centers of community, and remain in the hearts of those they left behind.
In the words of Francis A. Walker, “We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.”
Although we are certainly saddened by the loss of these brave men and women, we can sustain their memory and honor their legacy by relaying their life stories of integrity and personal courage. We must share the stories of those who fought in the Great War, of the troops who landed on the beaches of Normandy and who stood their ground in the Philippines, of the Chosin Few, of those who fought in the jungles of Vietnam, of the men and women who marched into Fallujah, and of those whose brothers in arms still stand strong in the mountains of Afghanistan. By speaking their names and telling their stories, we ensure that our Nation’s fallen continue to live on in our hearts and cherished memories. Further, we must strive to live our own lives in a way that honors their selfless acts of courage.
As you spend time with friends and loved ones this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to share the stories of the men and women of our Long Island community who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and way of life. Learn the story behind the name of your local school or Post Office. Attend one of the many remembrance ceremonies and find a way to say thank you to these brave souls. For we can best honor their memory by never forgetting that freedom isn’t free.
Member of Congress