By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford
John 15:13 reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thousands of men and women in the United States Armed Forces have not only given their life for their friends, but for all of us. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those men and women who lost their lives for our great nation.
Far too many Americans have heard the unforgettable notes coming from the bugle or trumpet. These notes are etched in many of our hearts and minds forever. Every time I hear Taps play I am reminded of those men and women who gave their all for our country. I hurt for the widowed wives and husbands, the fathers and mothers who lost their child, and for the children who have to grow up without their parent. They should never be forgotten. We must remember our fallen every day, not just one day out of the year.
Today, our men and women in the Armed Forces are spread across the globe. Every day they wake up without knowing what the day holds for them, they put on their boots, strap on their gear, and walk into the unknown and into danger .Not one day is promised to any of us. I have so much pride in our country because of the men and women who so selflessly serve and defend her every day. They make me proud to be an American.
I served fourteen years in the Army Reserve and the Alabama National Guard as a tank commander. I had the honor and privilege of serving alongside some of the most loyal and faithful men and women I have ever met. I am truly humbled by serving our great country. All of us gave some, but some gave all. The men and women who serve and protect our country are among the most courageous people on the face of the earth. Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” As a fellow American, former service member, and as an elected member of the Alabama House of Representatives, I try every day to follow the example of our servicemen and women. It is a calling, an honor, and a great responsibility.
It is of the utmost importance that we all stand strong and firm behind the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces. They sacrifice their time with their families and risk their lives for us all each and every day; asking nothing in return. They deserve far more than they are given, and deserve our respect and unwavering support.
Let us take the day to remember all those who have fallen. They have not died in vain. They are the true American heroes. America is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, but that comes at a great cost. Freedom is not free and bravery and courage is rare. Remember those we have lost, and thank all our men and women in uniform whenever you get a chance.
Trumpet call, as the sun, sinks in flight
Sleep in peace, comrades dear,
God is near”—Taps
Rep. Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden and the Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives.