On November 15th, I had the privilege of attending a ceremony at the Statehouse that honored men and women from all over Ohio who lost their lives fighting for our country during 2011. Since 2009, the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction has been given to the families that have had to endure the tragedy of a loved one killed in the line of duty. The members of the legislature conduct this event each year.

It is truly remarkable to think about individuals willingly putting their lives into harm’s way so that their fellow countrymen can continue to live in peace and freedom. Although our debts to them can never fully be returned, it is important that we do all we can to make sure their memories live on and their sacrifices are never forgotten.

So often, when we hear the word “sacrifice,” we tend to think only about them giving their lives for their country, which is undoubtedly the highest price a person can pay. But the men and women recognized on the House floor last month had made many sacrifices even before that. Many of them left behind families—husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters.

It is hard to imagine how anyone could handle parting with the people who share with us so many of our most memorable moments. But when one considers that they are fighting so that those people they hold most dear may have peaceful and prosperous futures, perhaps it is not at all hard to understand why they do it. The members in all branches of our military are cut from a different cloth, and they represent all that is good about our country—courage, service and an unwavering belief in freedom.

Several members of the Ohio House of Representatives, from both sides of the aisle, have served their country in uniform. During my time serving in the House, I have heard them describe some of their military experiences. Their first-hand accounts have helped me to better understand all that our military men and women endure, both during their service and after returning home.

Unfortunately, as the Military Medal of Distinction ceremony reminds us, many do not return home alive. As we prepare to celebrate a time of year that brings joy to so many of us, be sure to pray for all of our military service members and their families.


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