Take time to reflect on soldiers’ sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears
Friends and neighbors, another Memorial Day is upon us. While I’m sure that during a traditional year, many would enjoy the day off from work, the discounts and sales offered by businesses and the opportunity to begin enjoying the summer weather as it blesses us with blue skies and warm breezes, this year presented new challenges that might keep us from enjoying those niceties.
However, it is as important as ever to remember the true reason we honor this day the way we do: we remember the sacrifices of those who allow us to continue living free.
As someone who comes from a military family, with a father who served in World War II and a veteran myself, I can tell you firsthand that the sacrifices those brave men and women make are nothing short of remarkable.
Not only is the time and energy required in service to the country intense and all-encompassing, but it often leaves you with little ability to make your own decisions. So much is mapped out for you that it can sometimes feel like your own freedom is limited because of the path you have chosen to serve. But that’s just part of the job – giving up what you can so others can have freedom. To serve in the armed forces is one of the most selfless acts an American can make.
The impact that sacrifice can have for those people really can’t be understated. For many, yes, that means a sacrifice of time and sometimes personal goals. That alone is enough to earn the respect of their neighbors. But many don’t come back home.
Many give up life and sometimes limbs to give us the comfortable lives that we all enjoy. They sometimes don’t see family again; they sometimes can’t see friends the same way they used to. They’re asked to give up everything they have to ensure we can hold on to what’s ours. That, my friends, is true courage, true bravery and true selflessness. These are the qualities every American can strive for, but are always embodied by the few and the proud.
Memorial Day is more than a day off from work. It’s more than a time to start up the grill or get some sun. It’s a day to remember the sacrifices of countless generations who have given their blood, sweat and tears to ensure we can enjoy all we have in these great United States of America.
I encourage you all to take a moment today and reflect on why we’re here today, how we got here and what that means. Think of those service men and women and thank them, when you see them, for their service.
Assemblyman Steve Hawley
(Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, most of Orleans and parts of western Monroe County.)