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Honoring the fallen this Memorial Day

America is a nation built on sacrifice. 

From the Founding Fathers, who in the Declaration of Independence concluded our founding document by pledging “…our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”, to those soldiers who are fighting against the current terrorist threat today, Americans have stood together in the fight for freedom. 

This is why Memorial Day is a special day, and a day on which all Americans should honor the fallen.

Every day as I drive to work to the U.S. Congress down the George Washington Memorial Parkway, I am reminded of the great sacrifices men and women have made for our country so we can remain free. 

First, I pass the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial depicting the iconic image of the Iwo Jima flag-raising on February 23, 1945.  During World War II, on that one small island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, nearly 7,000 Americans lost their lives. 

Then I pass Arlington National Cemetery where rows upon rows of American heroes eternally rest in what truly is a cathedral to their sacrifices.

During a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 1982,  President Ronald Reagan said: 

“The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we—in a less final, less heroic way—be willing to give of ourselves.”

Those inspiring and poignant words still ring true today. 

Being a citizen of the United States of America comes with great responsibility because of those who came before us and gave their last full measure of devotion. 

For almost 240 years, patriots of Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley have given their lives for our Country.
Below is a list of names of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Read their names, remember, and think of the loved ones they left behind. We keep them in our prayers.
Daniel Bennett, Marine Corps, Operation Enduring Freedom, Clifton
Craig Cherry, Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Winchester
William Downs, Air Force, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Winchester
Douglas Green, Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Sterling
Kyle Hemauer, Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Manassas
Dillon Jutras, Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fairfax Station
Jeffrey Kaylor, Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Clifton
Scott Kirkpatrick, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sterling
Stephan Mace, Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Lovettsville
David Owens Jr., Marine Corps, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Winchester
Benjamin Park, Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Fairfax Station
Michael Quin, Operation Enduring Freedom, Purcellville
Colin Wolfe, Marine Corps, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Manassas

This Memorial Day we are again reminded that freedom is not free.

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock represents Virginia’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives

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