Here in Southern Ohio, many of us look forward to the warm air and outdoor fun that seems to come with the month of May. Indeed, the old adage, “April showers bring May flowers” demonstrates this positive view of the month that serves as a bridge between spring and summer. By the end of May, Ohioans are anticipating the three day weekend that caps off the month with Memorial Day. This time is often spent cooking out, spending time with family and friends, and delighting in the seasonable weather.

While we all deserve a chance to relax, it is important to remember the real reason why we have this extra day to share with our loved ones. Memorial Day has a long history in the United States, going all the way back to the American Civil War. In the wake of the fighting, Decoration Day was observed to honor all those Union soldiers who died during the war. In the early 1900s, this holiday was expanded to commemorate all of our fallen countrymen and women in every war the U.S. has fought. Finally, in 1967, the day was officially designated as Memorial Day, and we have observed it as such ever since.

The significance of a holiday observed to memorialize our own American heroes is all the more relevant as our military continues to defend freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a veteran of the War on Terror myself, Memorial Day holds special significance for me. However, it is not necessary to be a member of the military to appreciate the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen soldiers. These selfless individuals touched all of our lives, whether we had a personal connection with them or not. We should always remember the men and women who died to protect our families and preserve our unique rights as Americans.

This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 28th. On this day, I invite all of you to join me in remembrance of our brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends who died fighting for our nation and the American people. We will never be able to repay the debt we owe them, but we can ensure that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.


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