PROOS: A time to remember America’s fallen heroes

Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer. Families will get together to grill hotdogs and hamburgers, and moviegoers will head out to see the latest blockbuster.

In southwest Michigan, we are blessed with outdoor beauty and resources that enable us to do almost anything our heart desires. As you enjoy your day, I encourage you to take some time to honor the true meaning of Memorial Day.

It is a day to remember the brave Americans who died in order to preserve our rights and our freedom. It is also a time to celebrate everything they fought and died to protect.

We certainly would not enjoy the blessings we do here in Southwest Michigan if it were not for the selfless courage of real-life heroes who put country before self and protected us at the cost of their own lives.

I will be paying tribute to fallen service personnel at Memorial Day events planned throughout southwest Michigan. Residents can pay their respects by attending one of these local ceremonies or one of many local parades, flying the flag at home or the office at half-staff from sunrise to noon, or participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.

Decorating the graves of our fallen soldiers remains a time-honored tradition, and you can join an army of volunteers who will be adorning the final resting place of thousands of servicemen and servicewomen with American flags.

When you look upon the sea of flags, recognize the sacrifice of their families. For each waving flag, a mother and father are grieving at the loss of a child, or there is a wife or husband suddenly alone or a child who will never again hug dad or mom.

Thankfully many of our heroes do come home safely and can be found right here in southwest Michigan. Thank a veteran for his or her service, and ask them about their fallen friends. Passing down their stories is a profound way to honor their memory.

Most of all, take a moment to remember the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. Celebrate what they died protecting and remember its true cost.

Our nation remains strong today because of their dedication. It is a debt we can never repay, but one that we can sincerely honor.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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