But while we gather with our families and soak up the sunshine, it’s important that we also remember why the holiday was created – to honor the brave men and women who have lost their lives defending our nation’s freedom. As a long standing member of the Assembly Veterans Committee, I know it is important to honor our veterans.
In 1866, Waterloo, New York, became the birthplace of modern Memorial Day. Families gathered to celebrate the sacrifice of fallen soldiers and honored their loved ones by placing flowers on their graves and lowering American flags to half-staff.
Today, family and friends still come together every spring in the spirit of commemoration, holding remembrance ceremonies and pausing to show gratitude to those who have lost their lives in the many difficult wars our nation has been involved in since that first gathering.
We especially mourn those who have paid the ultimate price to protect our freedom and our way of life. As we remember the fallen, we should also recognize the sacrifices of surviving soldiers, veterans and their families.
Many of these brave men and women serving abroad or returning home from war are mothers and fathers who have given up precious time with their families and put their lives on the line in order to defend our country.
Tragically, over 2,000 brave soldiers have lost their lives while serving our country in Afghanistan. As of April, 33,500 American troops remained in Afghanistan. The bravery shown by these veterans and fallen soldiers is remarkable, and each one deserves our sincere gratitude.
If you would like to show your support for these heroes, and remind those in the armed forces and their families that they are not alone, there are several parades/ceremonies being held in our communities. Take the time to thank a soldier this Memorial Day, and keep them in your thoughts.
The men and women in uniform, who have selflessly served our country and defended our freedom, are an inspiration to us all. I remain dedicated to honoring and preserving the memory of those who have been lost in action, and I will keep looking for ways to support our troops and their families, while at home and abroad.
Catherine Nolan represents the 37th District in the state assembly.