Honoring the Sacrifice
Our country took a collective pause on Memorial Day to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Holiday weekends can be fun, relaxing times spent with family, but Memorial Day isn’t just a long weekend away from work. It’s a time to remember those who have lost their lives fighting for this great country and to reflect on their noble, selfless sacrifice.
In order to truly honor our fallen heroes, it’s our responsibility to do more than reflecting for a few moments on a holiday weekend. During the Memorial Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery last week, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a call to action that really hit home for me.
General Dunford said, “today if we truly want to honor the fallen from all our conflicts, we’ll do something more than mark their graves with flags and flowers. We’ll do something more than delivering remarks and reflect for just a few moments. If we truly want to give meaning to the sacrifice of those who have given all on our behalf, each of us will leave here today determined to find, in some small way, a method of serving our nation in our communities in their honor.”
The concept of “doing more” to honor these heroes really came full circle for me recently as I announced my 2017 appointees to the United States service academies. Each year I have the privilege to nominate students from Alabama’s Second District to be considered for appointment to the United States Air Force, Naval, Military, and Merchant Marine Academies. Our service academies are some of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the world. Appointments are highly competitive, and they require academic excellence, strong character, and proven leadership ability. Those appointed must commit to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation.
By serving our nation themselves, these distinguished young men and women from our district have truly answered the call to do more out of respect for those who gave their lives. In my opinion, there is no greater way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers than to put on a uniform and follow in their example of service. I admire them more than I can say.
Below are students who were nominated through my office and have received official appointments to United States service academies. I join their families, friends, and teachers in congratulating these men and women on this outstanding accomplishment.
Simeon Bowden – A native of Andalusia, Simeon is the son of Benjamin and Angela Bowden. Simeon is currently enrolled at Andalusia High School, and he received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
Morgan Gunn – A native of Dothan, Morgan is the daughter of John and Vanessa Gunn. Morgan is currently enrolled at Dothan High School, and she received an official appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
Barton Lester – A native of Montgomery, Barton is the son of Bart and Allison Lester. Barton is a graduate of The Montgomery Academy, and he is currently enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School. He received an official appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
Brian Probert – A native of Newton, Brian is the son of Allen and Dana Probert. Brian is currently enrolled at Wicksburg High School, and he received an official appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy.
Jackson South – A native of Montgomery, Jackson is the son of Branden and Amery South. Jackson is a graduate of Eastwood Christian School, and he is currently enrolled at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
Zachary Van Alst – A native of Prattville, Zackary is the son of Robert and Jennifer Van Alst. Zachary is currently enrolled at the Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School, and he received an official appointment to the United States Air Force Academy and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Join me in congratulating these students on this special achievement. If you or a someone you know is interested in knowing more about seeking a nomination to a service academy, please visit my website at https://roby.house.gov/serving-you/military-academy-nominations.