Remembering Those We Have Lost

May 25, 2015

This morning I was honored to be a part of a ceremony at the Washington State Veterans Memorial Cemetery to remember our nation’s fallen heroes.

To our service members, veterans, and families: thank you for your unwavering commitment to this country and for your service to America.

It is because of you that we stand as the strongest, safest, and freest nation on this earth.

On this day, we come together – not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans – to pay homage to the brave men and women who have so valiantly defended our country; who have answered America’s call to freedom; and who have defended us in our darkest hours.

So today, I ask everyone to simply remember. Remember those who have served; remember those who have sacrificed; and remember those we have lost.

This year’s Memorial Day is particularly meaningful to me because we honor one of this generation’s great heroes.

Let me tell you a little bit about him.

He was an infantry officer stationed at Pearl Harbor on that infamous day in 1941. As he picked up his daily newspaper, the first wave of bombers arrived.

He was part of America’s D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach – and survived the brutal Battle of the Bulge, which led to the loss and injury of more the 90,000 troops. He was brave, and he was heroic, and he was humble.

At 100 years old, Bud Garvin – a Pearl Harbor survivor and our Spokane hero – died just last month. But in the 100 years he lived, he embodied the valor and heroism for which America’s service members have long been known.

Today I ask that we remember him – and the extraordinary men and women just like him – who through their sacrifices have ensured our Freedoms.

Today, our troops are answering America’s call to freedom around the world. Our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen have fought the evils of tyranny. They embraced their families as they left to defend America on the battlefields. Some returned home; many did not.

In his famous Gettysburg address, President Abraham Lincoln – embroiled in a war to unite and preserve the future of this country – honored America’s soldiers with these words: “We are here dedicated to the great task before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

More than a century later – Lincoln’s words still ring true.

Today, as we honor our veterans who have passed before us and bow our heads in prayer, we are reminded that we live in the freest country in the world – where we are not defined by what divides us, but bound by what unites us.
To our veterans and their families: thank you for all your sacrifices to serve Eastern Washington and America.  May God bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America!

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