Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: Memorial Day

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Washington, May 24, 2019 | comments

Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with firing up the grill and hitting the water, serving as the unofficial start of summer. As our family, friends and neighbors gather to enjoy this long weekend, I hope everyone will take the time to reflect on the blessings of freedom and liberty that come with living in this great nation and the people who make it possible.

Memorial Day is a time to remember that these freedoms come at a great cost. On Monday, we will honor the brave men and women whose love of country led them to answer the call to defend our nation. It is a chance to remember our fallen heroes – those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Hailing from coast to coast, they were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and beloved friends who exemplified the ideals of America.

I am reminded of Army Specialist Jeffrey L. White, Jr., a hometown hero who grew up in Catawissa and graduated from Pacific High School. Immediately following his high school graduation, he answered the call to serve and joined the U.S. Army. Deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, Jeffrey tragically lost his life on April 3, 2012, only one week before he was scheduled to come home on leave. Last year, it was my honor to introduce legislation to dedicate the Post Office in Pacific as the “Specialist Jeffrey L. White, Jr. Post Office.” With the support of my Missouri Congressional colleagues, the House and Senate passed the legislation to honor Jeffrey and President Trump officially signed the bill into law.

I joined Jeffrey’s family and local officials for a dedication ceremony in his honor. It was truly humbling to be among the many people there to pay tribute to our local hero.  In the face of great sadness, the White family taught us all a lesson in strength and grace. We sometimes forget that the families of our soldiers live their lives knowing their entire world can be turned upside down at a moment’s notice. Their bravery and service, just like Jeffrey’s, is something for which we are all eternally grateful.

As the last Monday in May approaches, I hope we are all reminded that commemorating and paying respect to the men and women who lost their lives should be on our minds each and every day. We should always be grateful for their service and sacrifice. In that spirit, I share these poignant words which famously appear on the Kohima Epitaph:

When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today

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