Martha Roby: The meaning of Memorial Day

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Every year, on the last Monday in May, our country takes a collective pause to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service to this nation. Memorial Day isn’t simply a day off work, and it is much more significant than just marking the unofficial start of summer.

This special holiday is intended to be a day set aside for us to stop and acknowledge those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy.
There are many ways to honor our fallen heroes, whether by visiting a national memorial to pay respects, attending a Memorial Day parade or other event in your community, or supporting organizations that aid our wounded soldiers. It is also very important to remember that this day is especially somber for the many families who lost loved ones in the line of duty.

Another special way to pay tribute to fallen soldiers around Memorial Day is to acknowledge the active duty servicemembers and veterans all around us. Our district is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations, thousands of active duty and reserve personnel, and nearly 16,000 military retirees and veterans. It is because of their sacrifices, and those of the many men and women who gave their lives in service to this country, that we are free today. In the spirit of this important day of remembrance, I encourage you to make a point to thank a veteran, current servicemember, or a fallen soldier’s family members for their dedication and sacrifices.

While we set aside one day specifically to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, our veterans, servicemembers, and military families are always at the forefront of my mind, and advocating for improved veterans’ services is one of my top priorities in Congress. If we are to truly honor and respect the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives for this country, it is imperative that we properly care for the veterans and military families right here in our communities. It is no secret that much work remains on this front here in Central Alabama, but I will remain actively engaged until we get this right by our veterans.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all members of our Armed Forces – those who gave their lives in service to our country, the veterans who are still with us today and those who have passed, and the brave men and women who are currently wearing the uniform. In Congress, I know that one of my most pressing responsibilities is to honor these sacrifices by fighting to improve veterans’ care, and I remain committed to that duty on your behalf.

In the spirit of Memorial Day, I extend my sincerest gratitude and condolences to all families who lost a loved one in the line of duty. My family and I mourn with you during this time especially. To all those who have served or who are currently serving, thank you. America shines as the Land of the Free because of you and the brave men and women who carried the torch before you. May we always remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

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