Another View - Kelly Ayotte: A day to remember the heroes who died for us
MEMORIAL DAY is a special time to honor the brave American servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
It's part of our enduring commitment to forever honor the legacy of those who have given their lives for a greater cause than themselves - protecting our cherished freedoms.
The Memorial Day tradition, which originated as Decoration Day, began in 1868 as a way for Americans to honor the Civil War dead by placing flowers on their graves. Congress later declared Memorial Day a national observance, and today Americans across the country come together each May to honor the lives of those who died while bravely serving our country.
In his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of the need "to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan."
When we send our service members to war, we make a promise that we will keep them in our minds and in our hearts while they're away. For those who never make it back home, we have a solemn duty to comfort their families, honor their memory, and demonstrate enduring gratitude for their courageous sacrifice.
This Memorial Day, I hope you'll take time to remember the men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives so that we could live in freedom today - whether you attend a local observance, place flowers on a grave, or simply take a few moments of silent reflection.
On Friday, I'll join citizens from across New Hampshire at the State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen for a special ceremony honoring our state's fallen heroes. The veterans' cemetery is a special place of reverence where we pay our respects to generations of New Hampshire's fallen heroes.
As we remember those who were lost, let us also call to mind those who are still unaccounted for - and renew our commitment to doing everything in our power to returning their remains to their families.
This Memorial Day, we also remember the men and women of our armed forces who are currently serving in harm's way. We thank them for their service and pray for their safety. We also must continue to keep Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held prisoner by the Taliban for nearly five years, in our thoughts and prayers - and I renew my call on the Defense Department to redouble its efforts to find Sergeant Bergdahl and return him safely to his family.
As we recognize those who never made it home from battle, Memorial Day is also an opportunity to thank our veterans - and to make sure that veterans in New Hampshire and across the nation receive the timely and efficient care and support they deserve. It's the least we can do for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our country.
Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, represents New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate.