By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
The summer kicks off this weekend as we observe Memorial Day, but this day is so much more than just the beginning of backyard barbeques, trips to the lake, and summer vacation for our kids. Memorial Day is when we set aside time to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have as Americans. It is a day of remembrance and a day to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country.
The first time I came to Washington, I was with my papa, Kenneth “Cowboy” Morris, on an Honor Flight. He served in World War II and like any veteran, he lost friends in the war. Not only did my papa’s Honor Flight experience allow him to see the memorials with his own eyes, but it also gave him the opportunity to honor the men he served with who didn’t make it home.
I make it a priority to try to meet every Honor Flight from Oklahoma. My boys, Jim and Andrew, got to experience their first Honor Flight when they were in Washington not too long ago. I was grateful they were able meet a few of the men and women whose service to the nation has allowed them to live in the land of the free and home of the brave.
These Honor Flights also remind us that those who sacrificed their lives in our nation’s wars are more than names on a stone memorial. They were real people who made real sacrifices and they made real impacts on those around them.
Another way we can honor these heroes is to make sure that we always remember the families of the fallen. While their loved one paid the ultimate sacrifice, they also mourn the loss of a brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, uncle, aunt, or friend on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is the time we set aside to remember those service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to reflect on the impact they have on this country. One of the ways we honor the memories of the fallen is to teach future generations about the significance of those who gave all while defending the freedoms we often take for granted.
As Americans, it is our duty to honor those fallen and always give honor and respect to the families who have lost their loved ones while serving. Please take time this weekend to reach out to those families and thank them for the sacrifice that they live with every day. And never pass up an opportunity to thank a veteran.