Freedom isn't free.
On Memorial Day, we remember our heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. These Veterans have displayed courage and honor few can relate to, and countless times saved American freedom and preserved hope for our world. We owe them and their loved ones a debt we can never truly repay.
Today, and every day, please take the time to thank the family members and friends of those who selflessly fought on the battlefield and defended our republic at home and abroad. As a nation, we must ensure these patriots are recognized for their sacrifices and never forgotten.
Just a few months ago, I met with the wonderful family of Sergeant First Class Daniel M. Ferguson at a Mulberry Post Office naming ceremony held in his honor and memory. Sgt. First Class Ferguson was tragically killed in the 2014 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting. Without hesitation, he barricaded himself in front of a set of unlocked doors to prevent the shooter’s advance while others ran to safety. Sgt. First Class Ferguson succumbed to wounds he sustained during this act of violence, leaving behind many heartbroken loved ones, but also many grateful fellow soldiers.
As the father of two sons, and the son and brother of military Veterans, words cannot adequately describe the depth of gratitude and sympathy I feel toward Sgt. First Class Ferguson and his family. We must always remember that our selfless fallen, like Sgt. First Class Ferguson, did not give their lives in vain. They gave their lives defending our great nation and its principles. They gave their lives protecting us and future generations.
For those of us fortunate enough to have had our loved ones who served return home, Memorial Day serves as a day for us all to stand in solidarity and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation.
America’s founding was based on the principles of the liberties given to us by God. Every time we markup our voting ballots, every time we step foot into our places of worship, and every time we freely speak out about our thoughts and concerns, we must remember that these freedoms were bought and paid for by the blood of our country’s heroes.
As President Ronald Reagan said, “[t]hey didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization.”
We have a duty to honor our lost heroes by doing all we can to protect and stand up for these rights for which they valiantly fought. Cling to your freedoms. Exercise your rights. Pray for our troops. Let us never take them for granted, because freedom isn’t free.
May God bless you all, our troops and the United States of America.
Dennis A. Ross