Memorial Day is a special day to honor the men and women who lost their lives in the fight to preserve our freedom. We also pay tribute to their families who nurtured them, and who stood by them in good times and bad.
We must not forget that today, Ohioans are deployed to foreign lands, facing unknown challenges. More than 90,000 have left their homes since 9/11 answering the call to protect our nation’s freedom.
Less than one percent of our population serves in the military today, volunteering to put their lives on the line to protect us – I can truly say that each one we’ve lost represents the best and the brightest of us all.
We must hold up their families and friends who supported their loved ones at every step of their journey … from making the decision to join the military, through all of their training, and through the time they said goodbye as they deployed overseas.
The strength of our nation is our Military. The strength of our Military is our service members. The strength of our service members is our families. Ohio and the nation recognize that no one has given more for the nation than the families of the fallen.
Memorial Day and every day, Ohioans need to remember the sacrifice that all Gold Star Family members make when a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or loved one dies in service to our nation.
Although it’s very hard for the rest of us to know the depths of their feelings, this we do know: Their loved ones served with honor, and they made a contribution to the good of this nation.
They gave their lives – but by their sacrifice they made it possible for the rest of us to live, to prosper, and to dream.
On Memorial Day, we give thanks for those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, gave “the last full measure of devotion.”
We also give thanks to the families who supported that commitment.
I ask that each of us honor our fallen by dedicating our lives to making our state – and our nation – a place to live that is truly worthy of their sacrifice.
The writer is the director of the Ohio Department of Veterans.