Editor's Note: The following letter was written to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10046 in Soldotna and submitted for publication in honor of Memorial Day.
Dear Alaska Veterans:
Nancy and I regret that we cannot be with you as you hold your Memorial Day ceremony, but we wanted to express our warmest greetings to all those who gather to honor our nation's heroes.
Throughout our history, it has been the men and women of our armed services who have answered the call to keep America free. In 1776, men fought and overcame the tyranny of the British. They did so with little or no pay, limited supplies and terrible winters. But they were steadfast in their dedication to the principle of freedom.
Over the next two centuries, America's uniformed men and women were repeatedly asked to defend and protect that principle of freedom. Each generation had a test. Each answered with unwavering dedication to our nation and succeeded in passing on liberty and freedom to their children. But a price, nonetheless, was paid.
(Monday) we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that people they would never meet could be free. We must never forget the sacrifice of the soldiers who never came home.
We are a peaceful society. But history has shown us that sacrifices must be made to ensure our freedoms.
We are constantly reminded that freedom cannot be taken for granted, and that evil will always exist in this world. For that, we depend on the men and women of our military who put their lives on the line on a daily basis.
At this very moment, America is facing a new kind of war. A war that is being fought by men and women who, like thousands before them, have answered the call to duty to protect and defend our freedom. Our soldiers are engaged in conflict overseas with a vile and inhumane enemy -- an enemy that lives in shadows, strikes at innocent civilians and rejoices in terror.
Our armed forces carry on the fight for freedom. And they will prevail again.
So on this Memorial Day, to all those who died for their country, I join you in saying "thank you."
U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski
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