Murkowski Offers Reflections on Memorial Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, submitted to the Congressional Record her reflections on Memorial Day.

Murkowski's remarks, as submitted to the Congressional Record, follow:

"On Memorial Day, citizens across our great country pause to reflect on our fallen heroes. American hearts swell with pride as men and women everywhere stand just a little bit taller when hearing our National Anthem, and they feel a lump in their throat at the sound of a bugle playing taps. We stand proud and remember our nation's sons and daughters who no longer stand with us, but whose names and memories remain forever preserved in our hearts. On Memorial Day our nation weighs and respects the price of our freedom.

"We can and we should learn from those Americans who went to war but never returned home. For them service meant accepting the risk that they might not have a chance to enjoy the freedom their service protects. They selflessly chose to serve anyway. For the fallen, honor meant the privilege of wearing a U.S. military uniform and a chance to earn the respect that it garners around the world despite the risk that it might make them a target for those who mean us harm. For them selflessness meant answering a call for help from a fellow soldier, without hesitation, even if chances were high that it would be their final act.

"These timeless qualities of service, honor, respect, and selflessness form the bedrock of military service in a free society. On Memorial Day, we commemorate those who lived according to these principles so that we might assemble in this chamber and across the land as free people, safe under the umbrella of protection that their brothers and sisters continue to provide around the world today.

"It's appropriate that on Memorial Day we should set aside our differences and unite as Americans - a unified nation with one common voice to honor our fallen. Let us celebrate that we are a free nation, a proud nation, a nation guided by principles and universal truths. And although we may disagree on many things, we do so peacefully and lawfully. Even in tough times such as these we remain a beacon of light around the world for those who can only imagine a life of freedom as they struggle to survive under the grip of tyranny and oppression. Today we remember the men and women who kept that beacon lit and consider the gravity of their sacrifice.

"As a nation we must also remember that with every fallen soldier there is a family left behind. We should appreciate with compassion and respect their enduring sacrifice and provide for them the support and gratitude that they deserve. Ours is a grateful nation.

"Often quoted is our Declaration of Independence that proclaims "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It is those who have answered that call to service who ensured that our gift of liberty is not only unalienable, it is also enduring."

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