U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner: Remembering sacrifice
May 27, 2016
As we approach Memorial Day, we remember all of the Americans who paid the ultimate price to protect our country and the freedoms that make it worth fighting for.
It is important that we honor the memory of our fallen heroes by reflecting on their service and tireless dedication to protecting this country. The men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty delivered a debt that cannot be repaid but must be remembered, not only on Memorial Day, but every day.
During a recent visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., I recollected the 140,000 Coloradans who served in the Armed Forces during World War II, 2,500 of whom gave their lives. At the base of the flag poles is an inscription that reads, "Americans came to liberate, not to conquer, to restore freedom and to end tyranny."
These words have significant meaning to the Colorado National Guard's 157th Infantry Regiment. After suffering more than 500 grueling days of combat, the unit from Colorado, along with a unit from Oklahoma, charged into Dachau Concentration Camp and freed its prisoners.
In an interview following a 2015 ceremony that honored the 70th anniversary of the liberation at Dachau, Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, of Colorado, stated the ceremony, attended by survivors and their families, veterans and members of the U.S. military, "is something every American should see, because it reminds us of who we are as a country."
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We're a country that isn't afraid to condemn or act to counter notorious human rights abusers. We're a country that believes in freedom of the press and freedom of religion. We're also a country that spreads our message of democracy and principles of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that we hold dear.
This week should serve as a humbling reminder that freedom isn't free, and Coloradans and Americans from every corner of the country have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve it. We must never lose sight of the fact that our brave men and women in uniform are the force throughout history that has allowed us to live in the most free and prosperous country on Earth.
While Memorial Day is dedicated to those who have lost their lives, it should also be an opportunity to extend our gratitude to veterans and those currently serving in our Armed Forces. I'll continue to fight to do everything I can to keep our promise to take care of those who have taken care of us.
This Memorial Day, we pay tribute to all of the valiant men and women — and their families — who have given up so much to preserve this country as the land of opportunity. A place where, if you work hard enough for long enough, you will succeed.
That opportunity would not be possible if it weren't for those who laid down their lives in the name of freedom, and we cannot forget that.
Cory Gardner is a U.S. senator representing Colorado.