Along the shores of the Potomac, in Arlington National Cemetery, stand the columns of white markers denoting the final resting place of 400,000 men and women who devoted their lives to the freedom we hold dear—many of whom died in its service. They represent but a fraction of the 1.3 million servicemen and women who have given their lives for this country, purchasing our freedom with their sacrifice.
Freedom. It is a simple word, but as Churchill said, "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." And what better words are there to describe the principles for which the men and women of our armed forces have fought and often died?
As you and your family commemorate Memorial Day this weekend, I hope you will join me in remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the greatest nation on earth.
We mourn the loss of some of the best among us, men and women who dared to put their lives on the line in defense of our freedom, who answered the call to service in their nation's hour of need. They are a distinctive breed; former President Bush said of them that "they saw a dark shadow on the horizon - and they went to meet it."
I am humbled by the service of the brave men and women of our armed forces who put country before self, who, seeing that dark shadow on the horizon, do not tremble, but stand up to meet the challenge. We are all deeply indebted to those who have served, and on this weekend, we share in the grief of those who have lost a loved one in the horrors of war, but also in expressing our gratitude for those who have purchased our freedom with the last measure of devotion.
Their valor does not require my words to find expression. It is engraved upon the pages of history. It is testified to by their lives as well as ours - lived in freedom purchased by their sacrifice.
As you and your family commemorate this Memorial Day weekend, I hope you will join me in remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the greatest nation on earth.
Senator Mark Obenshain