America is the greatest country in the world, we are a bastion of freedom, and we are a beacon for the oppressed. President Lincoln was right when he wrote in 1862 that we are “the last best hope” of mankind on earth.
I have traveled to other parts of the world and fully understand the extraordinary opportunities America provides to her citizens. While it is easy to get distracted and take what it means to be an American for granted, it is important to take the time to reflect on just how blessed we are. Not just on the Fourth of July or Veterans Day, but every day.
One thing is certain – the freedoms we enjoy and the opportunities for a better life we all have would not be possible without the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation in uniform. The old saying is true: freedom isn’t free, and it comes with the sacrifice of brave Americans who throughout our country’s history have endured great hardship, danger, and risk. Many even gave the last full measure of their devotion.
I am proud to have served our nation in uniform for 21 years in the United States Army. I am proud to continue my service for the veterans and military of our state through the Alabama House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, which I serve as vice-chairman.
The brave men and women who have served in our nation’s military have given so much to us, and it is impossible to repay them for their service. But we must do the best we can.
One group of people who are supporting our veterans and their families is called Folds of Honor, and I’d like to take a moment to salute them. They work to provide educational scholarships to the spouses and children of fallen military heroes and disabled military veterans who call Alabama their home.
Folds of Honor doesn’t just talk about helping veterans’ families. They take action. Folds of Honor has awarded 1,475 scholarships to Alabamians. The monetary value of these scholarships is nearly $6.8 million, but their real value cannot be measured. These scholarships lift up and support military spouses and children when they need it most. Folds of Honor scholarships go toward tuition or tutoring for children in grades K-12, as well as tuition for college, technical, or trade school.
Folds of Honor has been so successful and had such a positive impact that it is expanding their mission to include the spouses and children of first responders, including police and firefighters.
Alabama is one of the most patriotic states in the nation, and our appreciation runs deep for the brave Americans who protect our freedoms and our families.
I believe government has no more sacred duty than to care for those who, in Lincoln’s words, “have borne the battle.”
I am proud to have been able to serve my nation, and I am proud of the patriotic Americans from sea to shining sea who support our veterans and their families.
All contributions raised in Alabama for Folds of Honor remain in Alabama to help our military and first responder families. Anyone who would like to support this cause can visit alabama.foldsofhonor.org.