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Opinion | Honoring our fallen heroes on Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, I ask that we all take time to remember and honor the Alabamians, and men and women from across the country, who have given their lives while serving in our nation’s armed forces. They—and their families—have sacrificed more than most of us can ever imagine in order to defend our country both at home and abroad. It is because of their service that America continues to be the greatest country in the world.

 While we enjoy the freedom and liberty that we have become accustomed to, we must remember that it has been paid for by the sacrifices of brave Americans who have laid down their lives to defend our nation and the values we hold dear.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Afghanistan and Iraq to visit with deployed troops from Alabama and across the country. These men and women truly exemplify what it means to be a hero and I was so impressed by their professionalism. They have dedicated their lives to protecting the values that make our country great, and they confront unimaginable dangers in order to keep their fellow Americans safe.

Words alone cannot thank these troops and their families for their sacrifices. These Americans, the best and bravest among us, made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. They will always be remembered in our hearts, and we owe them a debt that we can never repay.

Memorial Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our gratitude, to remember that tremendous cost of freedom, and to honor our fallen heroes – not just with our words, but with our actions.

It is a solemn reminder that as a nation, we have a responsibility to care for our troops and their loved ones – and that means providing them with the benefits they have earned, including full survivor benefits, quality health care, robust GI Bill education benefits, and transition assistance.

In the United States Senate, I have worked to honor this responsibility by passing legislation to improve the quality of veterans’ nursing home facilities, both in Alabama and across the country. My colleagues and I are also working to fix problems like the military “widow’s tax,” which prevents military widows and widowers from receiving their full survivor benefits, but there is still much work to be done in order to provide veterans and Gold Star families with the benefits and care that they deserve.

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This Memorial Day, I hope that we remember the cost of freedom and that, as a country, we use this day as an opportunity to reaffirm our obligation to our veterans and our military families. We must continue to work together to ensure that these brave Americans have not died in vain – to continue to protect and defend the United States so that it remains one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

May God continue to bless our troops, their families, and the United States of America.


Doug Jones is a former U.S. senator who served from 2018 to 2021.

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