May 25 2012
By Rep. Kristi Noem
Many families across South Dakota will spend the last weekend in May wrapping up graduation activities, attending the state track meet or camping in one of our great State Parks. But in addition to these activities, I hope everyone will take a moment this Memorial Day to think about the sacrifice so many men and women have made for our country.
Countless soldiers, Marines, airmen, guardsmen and sailors have paid the ultimate price to defend our nation and way of life. Many service members have died fighting for our freedom in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and I know there isn’t a day that goes by that the families and loved ones of the courageous fallen don’t mourn the loss. But it is because of their sacrifice – and the sacrifice of so many before them who fought in one of the World Wars or in Korea or Vietnam – that we can wake up every single day in a free and prosperous America. It is because of these brave men and women that the United States continues to be a shining beacon of freedom to all people around the world.
I am personally reminded of the sacrifice our military men and women and their families make every time I have the honor of attending a South Dakota National Guard activation or welcome home ceremony. Within the past two weeks, we have welcomed home three units. I was in Rapid City recently to help welcome back the 189th Aviation Regiment, and it was wonderful to watch the hugs that parents were able to share with their children and reunions between husbands and wives.
The men and women who get up every day and put their lives on the line so that we can go to work without fear and raise our children in freedom deserve our gratitude and respect. So between the barbecues and soccer games, I hope that everyone will take a moment to reflect on those who have given so much so we could be free.
We are privileged to live in a nation where individuals continue to voluntarily place themselves in harm’s way in order to preserve the values that generations of Americans have held so dear. Please join me in honoring, remembering and praying for those who have and will lay down their lives for our great country, not only on Memorial Day, but every day.
Rep. Kristi Noem is South Dakota’s lone U.S. Representative, elected in November 2010. She serves on the Agriculture, Education and Workforce and Natural Resources Committees.