Never Forget to Give Thanks on Memorial DayMay 27, 2013
By: Darrell Issa
Published in the OC Register
It never seems like enough, but, sometimes, the smallest words carry the most meaning.
We think of Memorial Day as a day to remember our fallen heroes, but it is also a day to give thanks.
To the 19-year-old lance corporal on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, thank you.
To the Wounded Warriors who lost a limb but never their fighting spirit, thank you.
To the veteran whose bravery and heroism inspires our future generations, thank you.
And, on this day, above all, to the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who did not make it home to your family, thank you.
Thank you for your service, your selflessness, your sacrifice.
Just as we raise monuments in your honor, we set aside a day to pause and memorialize your fight for our independence, our liberty and our security. It has been said that the wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom so that we can build a world of more partners and fewer enemies.
As we place a flag next to a gravestone or spend time with friends and family, we remember and celebrate your heroism. We recognize, as well, your family, your friends and your comrades who have supported you and shared in the sacrifice.
But, we owe you more than just one day of thanks and remembrance for your ultimate example of patriotic commitment. We owe you a similar commitment to our nation and our fellow citizens. Not just today, but every day.
It is our duty to ensure that your legacy lives on. You fought and died to defend the principles of our republic and to this day we continue that struggle.
Ronald Reagan once reminded us: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
We remember today, as well, the heirs of your tradition who are defending our nation and freedom as we speak. While the threats today are unlike those of the past, the sacrifice is no different. Our obligation is no different. And our unwavering gratitude remains no different.
We are in your debt, we must not, and we will not, forget your service, and we strive to be worthy of your sacrifice.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, represents California’s 49th Congressional District, which includes Camp Pendleton.