May 28, 2018

Weekly Column: Memorial Day: Honoring Fallen Heroes

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Thank you to all those who gather to honor our fallen heroes at Memorial Day events throughout Idaho, and especially, thank you to all those who have served our nation and support the service of others.

A commitment to honoring the service of Idahoans who protect and defend our nation is a fundamental part of Idaho communities.  Idahoans have established many places and events around our great state that provide opportunities to honor military families and reflect on their immense service.  An example is the Field of Heroes assembled annually in Pocatello.  For more than a decade, volunteers have been putting up crosses to honor those who lost their lives serving our nation.  The project has grown from its inception recognizing casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq to providing a comprehensive visual reminder of the price paid for freedom in our country.  A name is given on each representative cross, a name that represents commendable service and sacrifice.  I have had the great honor over the years of participating in Field of Heroes ceremonies.  I commend the many volunteers who provide this and similar places to honor those who embody the truest form of selfless service—willingness to give their own lives to protect others. 

Memorial Day brings with it many opportunities to salute our military.  And, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other holidays are not exclusive times to honor military service.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that Idaho is home to approximately 124,000 veterans.  Veterans are a central part of our communities, and Idaho veterans are extraordinary—often serving others in many capacities long after the conclusion of their military service.  Idaho veterans are among the first to be there to welcome home returning service members, honor fellow fallen soldiers, assist with navigating veterans services, comfort the families of fallen veterans, and so much more.  I have heard countless examples of the ongoing service of Idaho veterans, and their dedication is not a surprise.  It is rightfully, respectfully honored every chance we get.   

Thank you to the veterans and military families for your service to our nation.  Also, thank you to the entire Idaho veterans community for the assistance provided in our continued work to ensure veterans receive services that respect their commitment to our nation.  This Memorial Day, as we hold in our hearts the families who protect Americans and our freedoms at home and abroad, may our nation meet the challenges ahead with justice and compassion that honor this sacrifice.  As our 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan said, “We will always remember.  We will always be proud.  We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”  God bless our nation’s service members, past and present.

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