On Memorial Day, we honor the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our land of liberty. We pay tribute to a long list of American heroes-from those who fought and died to win our independence, to those who stormed the beaches at Normandy and the South Pacific to liberate millions from tyranny. We honor those who defended our great nation in Korea and Vietnam, and all others who have bravely worn uniforms to defend the United States.
In 2011, we also salute our current generation of heroes who have died in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world.
Washington state is home to more than 600,000 veterans, over 65,000 active duty and reserve officers and is home to major military installations, including the Army's Yakima Training Station. In Central Washington, our pride in our men and women in uniform runs deep. We value their contribution and we know the sacrifices these men and women and their families make are critical to preserving our greater good.
Since the birth of this great nation, our men and women in uniform chose to pursue the most honorable and selfless job in America. As members of the United States Armed Forces, they represent hope for the downtrodden, freedom for the oppressed, and safety and security for the homeland.
On Memorial Day, we salute their service and sacrifice, remember the loved ones they have left behind, and pray for the safe return of those who are now overseas defending our freedom. While we pause to mourn their loss and celebrate their lives, as long as new generations of Americans are willing to volunteer to stand up in defense of liberty, then our nation will remain free and strong.
Memorial Day is a day of sorrow, but also a day of hope. Those we remember on this day gave their lives because they believed in the future of this country and the principles we stand on. And, because of their sacrifice and the service of today's men and women in uniform, our future remains as bright as ever.
Let us never forget that the men and women who volunteer to keep us safe from harm may one day be taken from us while defending liberty. It is their memory that we must cherish and honor this Memorial Day.
- U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central