There’s no hiding it, I don’t even try. I’m proud to be an American veteran and to be a part of something so much larger than myself through serving in the company of heroes. This year, I celebrate 10 years of service, having joined the military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Since that time, I have been truly humbled by the sacrifice of my fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines and especially that of their families. I have seen great displays of joy as fathers and mothers ran off airplanes from austere and hostile locations and into the loving arms of sons and daughters who missed having their parent for lost birthdays and Thanksgivings. I have also seen the greatest of sorrow as I sat in the homes or stood by gravesides with parents and children who had to say goodbye all too soon.
At one such occasion, the mother of a fallen 19-year old Marine found a quiet moment to pull me aside and ask a question I will never forget, “Was his life worth it?” Our eyes welling up with tears, I knew I could never find the words to fit the moment.
What I told her though was what I believed in my heart and still do to this day. His life was worth something to me and for as long as I was allowed I would always do what I could to make sure he did not die in vain.
This morning at my polling place in Lebanon County, I kept my word. I voted.
To me, there is no better way to show our appreciation for freedom and our way of life than to exercise the right and the responsibility to cast an informed vote. My hope today is that you will join me.