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    Commissioner Speaks at Memorial Day Event

    Good morning to you all: our special guests, active and reserve service men and women, veterans, my fellow refugees from Vietnam, and especially the families of those who perished so we may live freely.

    This morning, I thought about the choices that my father had to make in the 70s and the early 80s to enable the choices I get to make today.

    As a result, I’d like to invite you to think about the daily choices we get to make, from the kind of morning coffee to the color of our clothing. Now, think about the daily experiences we get to enjoy, from going to church to spending time with our family. Also, think about the harder choices we have to make when we are too tired and stressed to be patient with each other and too busy to cast a vote in the local election.

    Memorial Day reminds us that the choices that we get to make in our lives are enabled by approximately 1,320,000 Americans who died in the line of duty while in service of our country, to protect the American interests around the world and preserve our way of life. From the crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776 to the subsequent raging battles in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, these men and women made the choice that enabled our choices.

    They die so we may live. Their families suffer so ours may prosper. Their future ended so we can continue ours. The absolute majority of them were strangers to us but they chose to stand in the thin gap between freedom and tyranny, peace and destruction, accepting the harms that took the life out of them.

    Currently, somewhere out there in many strange parts of the world, there are Americans who stand in the defense of not just America, but the civilized world. More of them will die, for sure, as the forces of evil continue their attack as we have seen recently in Manchester, UK. Knowing that sudden death may fall upon them, these Americans do their duty any way, with honor, courage and pride.

    On this Memorial Day and beyond, let us honor those who died and those who will die in defense of America by making the right choices in our lives.

    As Mother Teresa said, "The world is changed by your example, not your opinion."

    Let us be less opinionated but more action oriented. Let our choices and actions be the shining examples, worthy of the sacrifices of those who died as Americans in defense of American values so we can live as free Americans.

    Freedom is definitely not a commodity. We can’t charge it on a credit card and we certainly can’t pay for it with our debit card. The currency for freedom is blood, and those men and women stepped through the line and paid for our freedom with their blood. That’s the price of our freedom, paid for by the blood of others. We must remember that, as it is the very essence of Memorial Day.

    To those who perished in the defense of liberty and to their families, we honor you; we embrace you with our sincere gratitude and our unyielding commitment to the values that make America great.

    News release date: May 29, 2017