Saturday, May 28, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: "Remembering Those Who Sacrificed for Our Freedom" by Rep. Jean Schmidt

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R, OH-02)
By Rep. Jean Schmidt

From the first shot fired in the American Revolution to today, our nation’s wars and the fight for freedom have cost the lives of nearly 1,010,000.

We can argue about whether our leaders are wise and truthful. We argue about whether the war at hand is just. We should never argue about the valor of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we all enjoy.

War is one of man’s worst inventions. It is never pleasant.  And, the war in which we are now engaged – the longest one in our history – reminds us of this fact every single day.  The enemy is stateless and ruthless, targeting innocent civilians all over the world.     So after 10 years of this, it’s fair for people to start thinking aloud about finding the exit. After all, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the terrorists he left behind fear that they await a similar fate.

This war is unlike past wars   It won’t end with surrender ceremonies, where people in uniforms negotiate a cessation of hostilities. This war will end when those who wish to do us harm are eliminated or brought to justice.

As we observe Memorial Day this year, our thoughts naturally turn to the rows of white crosses in our national cemeteries and people brushing their fingers over the names on headstones and memorials to the fallen.  Or, the chills we feel or the tears that well up when we hear those sorrowful notes of Taps from bugles at observances large and small across the country.

Memorial Day is an important observance where we honor not only the memory of our fallen heroes, but also the lives they led, and the valor they displayed. Whether they volunteered for service or answered the call of the draft, our fighting men and women stood proud in the defense of liberty, protecting our freedom and the interests of our nation across the globe.  Our troops have done their work with courage and dignity.  We look forward to the day this war ends, when the men and women who today stand tall to defend us can return home to personally accept our gratitude and respect.