A Memorial Day Message

May 28, 2013 Issues: Veterans, Happening in West Texas

I hope this Memorial Day—while you are spending time with loved ones—you take some time to honor all the brave men and women who have served our country.  I recorded a brief video message to commemorate this day, which you can watch here.  

The transcript of the video is below:

Today is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the men and women who sacrificed all they had for our country and our freedom. 

Nearly two hundred years ago, Daniel Webster reminded us that, “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” 

As Americans, we’ve been blessed with many advantages.   Today, you may be spending the day with friends and family, enjoying a meal together and celebrating the start of summer.  As you enjoy your day, take a moment to reflect that none of these celebrations would be possible without that first blessing of liberty. 

I encourage you to give thanks today to all of those brave Americans who have fought and died to protect that freedom.  I also encourage you to take moment to thank the families and friends of our troops.  They are not on the battlefield, but they make deep personal sacrifices for our country. 

And to all of our service members and veterans, in this generation and those past….thank you for your service.

May God bless you, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.

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As we celebrate Memorial Day, I would also like to share some information about an important issue affecting our troops: religious freedom in the military.  Recently, it came to light that the Pentagon had took a meeting with an activist who claims Christians are “monsters.”  In a recent editorial, Michael Weinstein wrote, “Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates.  This is just the latest in a series of actions by the DoD on religious expression that concern me.  For instance, An Army reserve brief listed Catholicism and evangelical Christianity as extremist groups, alongside al Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan.   Besides the Constitutional protection for freedom of religious expression, the DoD is also required to provide our troops with certain protections for religious freedom.  I’m worried these freedoms are being trampled on.  In an effort to get more information about my concerns, I joined my colleagues in a letter to the Secretary of Defense, asking him to detail how he is addressing these issues.  It is imperative that we defend the right of religious freedom for the men and women who sacrifice so much to defend our country.

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Lastly, I want to let you know about a great program available to all military families.  The Blue Star Museums summer program offers free admission for military personnel and their families to 2,000 museums across America.  There are more than 100 participating museums here in Texas alone, including the Grace Museum in Abilene and the American Wind Power Center, the Buddy Holly Center, and the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock. 

To all our troops and families, thanks for your service.