Today, we honor our fallen soldiers. From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, we take time out of our day to pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we so deeply cherish. As a young adult, I find it terribly important to honor these brave men and women who did what I could never do, showing valor and true heroism while protecting our great nation. Sadly, many kids my age see today as a day off from school, or simply don't care because this holiday means "nothing to them". To them I ask, is this just another day for the parents, siblings, spouses, or children who received that dreaded knock on their door? Those who had to face the unbearable reality of losing their family member in war? This makes me not only weep for the ignorance of my generation, but truly makes me sad.
Living in Vermont, I thought that tragedy would never strike so close to home. I thought, well, Vermont is so tiny and so irrelevant, war could never affect my state. Wrong. Statistically, Vermont has lost more soldiers in Iraq per capita than any other state. I was shocked to hear this, and it really opened my eyes.
While every soldier should be remembered today, I ask you to keep two in your thoughts. Army Sargent Kevin Sheehan and Marine Lance Corporal Kurt Dechen both attended my high school and both died while serving in Iraq. Sheehan was killed in a mortar attack and Dechen died by enemy fire when pulling another soldier to safety. Both of these men, along with thousands of others, paid the ultimate price, all for your freedom. These men and women are heroes, and should never be thought of as any less.
Lastly, I encourage all of you to partake in a moment of silence today. Whether you listen to TAPS, visit a grave, or simply take a moment to pray, please show your respect and gratitude for those who died to keep you safe. In addition, take time to thank someone who has served/is currently serving today. These men and women put their lives on the line every day, and could be gone in the blink of an eye. I thank these men and women from the bottom of my heart, and to the veterans, thank you so much for your service. God bless America and our heroes.