Editor’s note: U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., inserted into the Congressional Record a special Memorial Day tribute to Mississippians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Cochran is vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense. Cochran commented in a release from his Washington office, “Over the past decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have been deployed to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world on our behalf. … These are the sacrifices that we should keep in mind as we commemorate Memorial Day 2011.”
This is the text of Cochran’s statement:
Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in defense of our nation. This Memorial Day, I join all Americans in honoring those brave souls.
Over the past decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have been deployed to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world on our behalf. Thousands of those courageous servicemen and women have lost their lives as part of these ongoing missions. More than 70 of these warriors called Mississippi home, including seven brave fighters who have been killed in Afghanistan since we last observed this national holiday. These are the sacrifices that we should keep in mind as we commemorate Memorial Day 2011.
I am deeply grateful to the young Mississippians we’ve lost in this war against terrorism, and my heart goes out to the families and friends they leave behind.
For the Record, I now cite the names of these Mississippians, these heroes, who have fallen over the past 12 months:
– 1st Sgt. Robert N. Barton of Roxie, 35, who died June 7, 2010
– Pfc. Joshua S. Ose of Hernando, 19, who died September 20, 2010
– Pfc. William B. Dawson of Tunica, 20, who died September 24, 2010
– Sgt. Eric C. Newman of Waynesboro, 30, who died October 14, 2010
– 1st Lt. William J. Donnelly IV of Picayune, 27, who died November 25, 2010
– Staff Sgt. Jason A. Rogers of Brandon, 28, who died April 7, 2011
– Staff Sgt. David D. Self of Pearl, 29, who died May 16, 2011
While their sacrifices will leave a deep void in many lives, I hope their families can find comfort in the fact that they served proudly and will be counted among the multitude of Mississippians who, over the long history of our great nation, have bravely served and courageously given their lives for their country.
Mississippians traditionally identify themselves with a strong support of our national defense and a willingness to serve in our Armed Forces. We also hold fast to the memory of those lost in battle.
In fact, Columbus proudly claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, which was originally designated as Decoration Day to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. This tradition evolved into Memorial Day, which was recognized as a federal holiday in 1971.
As we again gather to commemorate Memorial Day, people across Mississippi will stop to reflect on all those who have perished protecting our nation, whether in battles long ago or in the ongoing conflicts. We will also affirm our belief that Congress should ensure that those who join our Armed Forces will be the best equipped and best trained in the world.
As a veteran of the United States Navy, I am thankful for the bravery and dedication of those who have fought and died for our country in our defense. They are true heroes, and we owe them our solemn gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
Thad Cochran, a Republican, is the senior United States Senator from Mississippi. Contact him at U.S. Federal Courthouse, 911 East Jackson Avenue, Suite 249, Oxford, MS 38655, or call (662) 236-1018.
Sen. Thad Cochran