Roby Column - November 11, 2011
Today we honor our military. We honor the heroes in our nation’s great history – men and women who embody the sacred ideals we hold dear. Heroes who, in the face of adversity, fought and served with honor and courage.
We don’t know all of their stories; but we do know their honest intentions to protect and serve this great nation. We set aside today, Veterans’ Day, to remember their courage, their dedication - and to honor the service of those who graciously put their country before themselves.
From Concord and Lexington to Fallujah, millions of American service men and women risked everything so that we may enjoy freedom. All across the country, in earnest ceremonies in places like Arlington National Cemetery and here in southeast Alabama - we pause to thank our true American military heroes.
We are blessed that our nation is protected - day after day, year after year - by courageous American service men and women. Those who have worn the uniform and stood on the front lines risked everything to preserve our freedoms. Their commitment to our country is demonstrated through their selfless sacrifices and unwavering courage. We owe them, and their families, our most eternal gratitude.
On Veterans’ Day, as we honor those who have defended America, let us not forget those who are currently serving in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other troubled spots around the globe. I say to those heroes who have served, and those currently serving, America would not be the great nation that she is today without you.
Today is also a day to recognize those fallen American heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for America. We recently suffered such a loss in our own community. U.S. Marine Lance Corporal (LCpl.) Jason Nicholas Barfield, whose family is from Ashford, was killed on October 24, 2011, while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Reports indicate that LCpl. Barfield died as the result of traumatic injuries received when his patrol was struck by an Improvised Explosive Devise in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was only 22 years old.
I recently had an opportunity to speak to LCpl. Barfield’s father, Raymond. It was a moving conversation that I will forever remember. Mr. Barfield was gracious in spite of his grief, immensely proud despite his pain. During our conversation, I learned that, LCpl. Barfield recently proposed to his girlfriend, Joyanna Champlin. So, today, I stand here not only to pay tribute to Jason’s sacrifice, but also to recognize the memorable people who held prominent positions in this patriot’s life. The family and friends of our heroes are indeed heroes themselves.
The sacrifices of the military spouses, parents, and children deserve recognition as well. While they do not wear the uniform, they are indeed eternal American patriots.
When I was a little girl and was just beginning to understand America and her place in the world, Ronald Reagan was president. I came to see America through his eyes, as that “shining city on a hill.” It is you, our veterans, service members, and families, who shine brightest among us.
While Veterans’ Day comes but once a year, we ought to remember and honor those who have served and sacrificed for the other 364 days of the year as well. The freedoms we all enjoy have been provided by those service men and women who have served on the front lines of defense, and we must never forget that.
The military heroes we honor today made America a beacon of freedom and democracy. We will always remember our veterans’ eternal tribute. God bless you, and God bless America.
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