Waco Tribune: Let’s remember the fallen and those still in the trenches this Memorial Day
Guest columnist- Bill Flores
From the depths of the Pacific to the deserts of Iraq, more than a million American soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines have laid down their lives for their friends, their families and our nation. On Memorial Day, we honor their sacrifice, we lower our flags to half-mast and we join together on a bipartisan basis to remember their valor and to pray for their families who have been left behind.
Going forward, we must continue the fight to change the direction of our country. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that, “At the grave of a hero we end, not with sorrow at the inevitable loss, but with the contagion of his courage; and with a kind of desperate joy we go back to the fight.” Washington’s militia pressed on across the Delaware. The Greatest Generation stormed the beaches of Normandy. And Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis and our Marines laid siege to Fallujah. They never stood down, and so we must continue to stand up — to protect freedom, liberty, self-determination, government by consent and free enterprise. America’s history is exemplified in the efforts of the men and women who died for our country. The one thing that they all have in common is their selfless love for our nation and their courage to stand up to protect and defend it. They raised their gaze in the face of conflict, believed in what America could be and pushed forward. We are compelled to follow their example.
We have an obligation to ensure that our men and women on the front lines have the resources and the authority they need to fight and defeat the threats that exist in the world today. The House recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides for a strong national defense in a fiscally responsible manner, by cutting unnecessary spending and reforming procurement. Additionally, it reforms the military justice system and focuses on the importance of improving readiness through the rebuilding of our nation’s military. Our troops make many sacrifices to preserve our freedom. They are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Our troops serve as the world’s first lines of defense against expansions of tyranny and terrorist activity. We must ensure that they are properly prepared.
When that fight is won and our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends and neighbors return home, we need to ensure their health care and benefits are in competent hands. The Department of Veterans Affairs should be committed to putting the care of our nation’s veterans first and making sure that the mechanisms are in place to improve access to care and accountability. It is important that we put the VA on a path to permanent success by continuing to focus on creating a 21st-century VA with a smaller bureaucracy that is more responsive to America’s veterans.
This Memorial Day, let us remind all Americans to keep “Memorial” in Memorial Day. It is important that we take time to honor those who have given their lives in service to our nation. While we are paying tribute to the brave men and women who have died for our freedom, we should also honor those who are defending our liberties around the world today as well as our veterans who defended us in the past.
The 17th Congressional District of Texas has a rich military history and is home to many veterans. Since I was sworn into office in January 2011, we have lost 10 heroes during the Global War on Terror. These individuals paid the ultimate sacrifice for America’s security, freedom and prosperity. I ask that you join me in praying for them and for all of the other brave Americans who have given their lives for our great nation.
May God bless our fallen heroes, and may God bless the United States of America.