Memorial Day, first called Decoration Day, has long been used to pay tribute to those Americans who died serving our country in the military. It has evolved into honoring all of those veterans who are no longer with us, even those who have died of old age. I hope it continues to evolve into something even more meaningful.
I hope someday that we will use Memorial Day to not only pay tribute to those Americans who died serving our country in the military, but also to come together once a year as a country to rededicate ourselves as a nation opposed to wars. I believe the best way we can honor those who have fallen on the field of battle is to work our very hardest to ensure that no others have the same fate.
My campaign supporters know I am a retired Navy Master Chief, and they know I spent my career on the frontlines in the war against terrorism. From Beirut in 1983, to the Red Sea in 1993, to my over 30 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan before my retirement in 2008, I have lived my adult life serving the Navy’s core values of “Honor, Courage, Commitment.”
Over the course of this Memorial Day, nearly all politicians and candidates will fall over themselves claiming how much they respect the fallen, honor our veterans, and support our troops. Few of them will follow up with any discussion of how they will actually protect the veterans and troops from an underfunded Veterans Administration, multiple back-to-back deployments, never-ending and unsustainable warfare, and lives of uncertainty based on campaign cycles. This must stop.
To me, “Honor, Courage, Commitment” means I must have enough honor to speak the truth to power; to have the courage to question the leaders of my party; and the commitment to stand strong enough to do my part to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I did throughout my career in the Navy, you can count on me to stay true to these three core values.
This Memorial Day, as I do every Memorial Day, I will attend a service to honor the fallen. This Memorial Day, as I have for the past three Memorial Days, I will carry forward a political campaign to truly honor those who have served America in uniform … as well as those who are serving and who will serve. My brothers and sisters in arms deserve my utmost “Honor, Courage, and Commitment,” and they will receive it.