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On Memorial Day, we take time as individuals and as a nation to honor the servicemen and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, while pausing to remember that American troops continue to fight for our liberty, at locations around the globe.

All of these valiant soldiers - past and present - stand at the forefront of our thoughts on this somber day as we thank them for their selfless devotion to our country. Each of them has a special story to tell. Each deserves remembrance in our thoughts and at the ceremonies being held in their honor.

As I work to ensure that the military and veterans’ needs are met on Capitol Hill, my thoughts are never far from my hometown of Jacksonville and the cities and towns across this Congressional district. The First Coast’s strong military tradition commands respect, particularly on this day. From its defense installations which have anchored our national security, to the servicemen and women and their families who live here, to the service organizations who support our Armed Forces, the region is an example of patriotism at its finest.

Let us all gather and remember this history and the faces of those who have helped create it. Some are still with us and some have passed by, but they all hold a place in our hearts as we take a moment to say thank you. We owe them a great of gratitude so that we may continue to live in a free country. I thank them all and pay tribute to their valiant service on this and all days.