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Congressman Jerry Carl: Honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

As I spent time this Memorial Day Weekend relaxing on the farm with Tina, our kids, and our grandkids, I couldn’t help but think of how grateful I am to live in this country. Although we Americans have our disagreements and have been through some tough times together, we would not be here today without the sacrifice of so many men and women who have died in defense of our great nation. Over the course of our nation’s nearly 250-year history, more than one million men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice and have paid the cost of freedom for my family and yours.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to have lunch with some World War II and Korea veterans. I sat around the table listening to countless stories they recall from both wars, and I was especially struck by the stories of the bravery and courage shown by their fellow men and women in uniform who gave their life defending a nation they loved.

Conversations like the ones I had this past week with these veterans remind me just how fragile freedom is and why so many have willingly sacrificed their lives in defense of it. As President Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it and then hand it to them….”

Although it can be easy to take this 3-day weekend for granted and simply enjoy a day off from work to have a backyard barbecue with friends and family, we owe it to the men and women who gave the last full measure of devotion to continue defending freedom and working together to continue creating a nation worthy of their sacrifice.

I hope you will join me not just this week, but every week, in honoring the fallen by living lives worthy of the sacrifices they made and by continuing to protect freedom for generations to come.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.