WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip (MD) Steny Hoyer released the following statement today in observance of Memorial Day:
“On the last Monday of May, our Nation collectively remembers and honors those who have given their lives defending America’s freedom.
“Originally founded as Decoration Day in 1868, Memorial Day came about when wives of fallen Confederate soldiers began the tradition of visiting their husband’s graves and decorating them with flowers. Now, as then, we understand the importance of publicly recognizing the ultimate sacrifice.
“Daily we reap the benefits of the finest, most professional, most skilled military in the history of the world, but on Memorial Day we remember not only those fighting overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, but we also honor the bravery of our veterans who have been the steadfast defenders of our freedom.
“This Memorial Day, I pay special tribute to Army Private First Class Jason Ford from Bowie, Maryland; known as a beloved son, a brother, a friend, and now a fallen American patriot who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and the principles for which we stand – liberty, justice, equality and decency. Pfc. Ford brought home to all of us in Maryland an eternal truth established throughout history and inscribed on the Korean War Memorial: freedom is not free.
“This holiday weekend, I will join hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families who will be in Washington for the opening and dedication of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. This memorial is being dedicated to the 16 million men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to thank the World War II generation for their spirit and sacrifice, and for exemplifying the commitment of the American people to securing freedom and democracy throughout the world.
“To the families and loved ones of Pfc. Jason Ford and of all of the American servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of liberty, please know that a grateful nation mourns your loss and shares your pain. We will never forget the magnitude of the deeds and sacrifices of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have, as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘given the last full measure of devotion.’”