Remembering those we’ve lost

Posted on May 29, 2018 10:50 am CDT

By Congressman Billy Long,

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, has been around since the end of the Civil War as a time to celebrate those who lost their lives in the Civil War. However, after World War I, Memorial Day became a day to celebrate and mourn all the brave men and women we’ve lost in all wars. Although it’s been celebrated for decades in the U.S., it wasn’t until 1971 when Memorial Day was officially recognized as a federal holiday.

Each year, millions of people in the U.S. enjoy Memorial Day as an extra-long weekend and time to officially kick off the summer season with family and friends. But for many people, it’s a time to remember loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Individuals use this day to decorate graves of soldiers with flowers, flags and other sentimental items.

As a member of Congress, I have the honor of meeting with service members’ families and loved ones from my district. During these conversations, it never gets old seeing how proud they are of their service members. Their heartfelt stories constantly remind me of how important it is to take care of our veterans, active military and their families.

Our service members and their families deserve quality care and our utmost respect. That is one of the few things both Democrats and Republicans can agree on in our nation’s capital. A retired service member recently moved to my district from another state and had been getting fits from the VA, but not his hard-earned benefits. After fighting for a year to get what he had coming, he had almost given up when he came to me for help. He was shocked how quickly our office got it all straightened out and got him his due. We love fighting for those that have fought for us. During this Congress, the House of Representatives has proposed and passed numerous pieces of legislation that reform the VA and help military families with things such as transitioning military posts and education.

Although Memorial Day is a time to celebrate and mourn those we have lost, it’s another great reminder to also remember the sacrifices made by those that are still with us. As this holiday comes and goes, I ask all of you to take the time to thank not only a service member, but anyone who has lost a service member. For them, it’s not just a long weekend and a time to kick off the summer season. And if you know a veteran that doesn’t think they are being treated fairly, please suggest they reach out to Lisa Saylor in my Springfield office.

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