Every year on the last Monday of May, our nation celebrates Memorial Day to honor the lives of the brave men and women of the United States military who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. We have been blessed to live in the freest country in the world, and it is all thanks to these fallen heroes and our veterans. Memorial Day gives Missourians and Americans across the country the opportunity to reflect on the immense gratitude we feel for the selfless actions of our servicemembers and their families.
While Memorial Day serves as the unofficial kickoff to summer, it is so much more. It is always nice to gather and spend time with family, but it is important to remember the true meaning of this day: honoring Americans who have given their lives fighting for our freedom and letting their families know that we haven't forgotten. The men and women who answer the call to serve and join the United States military volunteer to put their country before themselves and leave home for a deployment not knowing if they will return to their families and loved ones. While we're eating hot dogs and hamburgers in the backyard, military members are stationed around the globe making sure we enjoy the holiday weekend in peace.
Memorial Day is dedicated to those who have laid down their lives for the sake of their fellow Americans, but it is also a great opportunity to thank our nation's veterans. Missouri is home to veterans who have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries across the world. While these heroes were thankfully able to return home, they have sacrificed so much for this nation and we are so grateful for their sense of duty and love of country.
Like everything else these days, we're going to celebrate the holiday a little different this year. Areas like Union and St. Charles are usually home to Memorial Day parades and ceremonies we all look forward to and enjoy. Unfortunately, they will not be able to take place this year due to coronavirus, but that doesn't mean it will go unnoticed. We can still pray for and remember our heroes and their families who have been forced to go on without a father, mother, son or daughter. Life will never be the same for these families, and we are forever indebted to them for the incredible sacrifices their loved ones have made. This weekend, and every weekend, is the perfect time to say thank you.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.