As State Representative of the 76th Ohio House District, and as a citizen of this great nation, I stand with all of you as we recognize the importance of Memorial Day. This year in particular, many people have made sacrifices throughout this pandemic, but none more important than the ultimate sacrifice our service men and women of the Armed Forces have made from their dedication to the United States – we acknowledge their courageous efforts on this significant Memorial Day.

This is a sacred day for all war veterans. This is not another three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summertime. This is a vital day to recognize the magnitude of the effort of men and women who fought for their belief that evil and tyranny must not prevail. This is our civic obligation to honor our Nation’s war dead. We must preserve their memory. We must honor their courage and sacrifice.

While history and reviews vary on the origins of this holiday, unofficial observances perpetuated from the death toll of the Civil War. Grave decorations of fallen soldiers and even a commemoration ceremony took place for these individuals at Gettysburg. Memorial Day was first recognized as a federal holiday in 1971 and stands as the day in which we all observe and give tribute to the fallen military members of our country.

Throughout 2020, not only have our U.S. military personnel fought and died for us overseas, but they have proudly served us here at home especially as our nation has faced the unprecedented coronavirus.

Thousands of Ohio National Guard members across the United States have been deployed to help aid in combatting COVID-19. Reports have circulated that two U.S. Navy ships have treated patients diagnosed with the virus – the USNS Mercy and Comfort within Los Angeles and New York City, respectively. Even our very own Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members have assisted at various food banks within our state. More recently, the Ohio Military Reserve is collecting and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to those who need it, including to Ohio’s prisons who have been severely impacted from a rise in cases.

To our military service men and women, who have either passed away due to COVID-19 this year or from their brave deeds from around the globe, I commend you. It’s important to honor those who have given up their lives in order for us to carry on with our own. We must not forget their sacrifices or the sacrifices of the military families who must carry on day-to-day without their loved ones.

During the global pandemic, now more than ever, it’s crucial our communities should come together in praise and thank our fallen military members on this significant Memorial Day.