Remembering The Sacrifices Of Our Soldiers
A Guest Column by State Senator Joe Uecker
May 22, 2015
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Memorial Day is more than just a day for parades and speeches. It is a time for us to remember and honor the brave American men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day in this great nation. We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to pursue our dreams, worship without fear of persecution and choose our leaders in fair and democratic elections. Today we honor those who have served to defend these liberties. 

Like many others, my family is steeped in military tradition. My father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aircraft engine mechanic in the Philippines during World War II. My eldest brother graduated from the US Air Force Academy and flew an F-111 fighter bomber during the Cold War era.

Three of my children also serve as Air Force Officers. Our eldest,Christopher, after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, learned to fly F-16 fighters and currently serves as a Major for the Ohio Air National Guard. Our daughter Julie is also a Major and is a pharmacist overseeing three pharmacies at Eglund Air Force Base in Florida. Our youngest son Tim is an Air Force Lieutenant, piloting the E3 AWACS battlefield command aircraft out of Oklahoma.

The values that my father passed on to me are now evident in my children and are an intrinsic motivator for my decision to serve Ohio as a Senator. The pride that I have in these family members and in their fellow servicemen and women is immeasurable.

Originating from the Civil War era, Memorial Day has gradually evolved into a larger  commemoration of all those who have served through their last breaths and dedicated their lives to the preservation of our nation over the last 150 years.

Our nation recognized that sometimes our gratitude falls short. We created this holiday not because the soldiers’ sacrifices are ever forgotten, but because sometimes we forget to thank them and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Memorialize within yourself the necessity of thanking those who are still able to be with us; active military personnel, veterans, and families for their bravery and steadfast service.

As we celebrate our long weekend with family and friends, let's not forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our freedom and security through their service in the Armed Forces. Enjoy the holiday by attending a parade, helping a veteran or leaving flowers at the gravesite of a departed loved one who honorably served his or her country in the military, but continue to look further than these traditions and reflect on these sacrifices.

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