A speech Monday by Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs), whose constituency includes Murrieta, touched upon the sacrifice that men and women in our armed forces have endured for years.
Mack appeared at a flag-raising ceremony in honor of Memorial Day in Indio.
“I am truly honored to be with you today for this very special and most sacred observance…but even more importantly, I stand here this morning inspired and humbled by the extraordinary sacrifices that millions of Americans have made throughout our nation’s long history.
“No words can ever thank them enough. Instead, the best way to show our love, respect and heart-felt appreciation to our fallen soldiers is by faithfully safeguarding the freedoms they so bravely fought and ultimately died for. As Americans, that is our obligation and part of our service to our country.”
Mack also extolled the virtues of the veterans and active-duty troops present at Monday’s ceremony.
“I want to especially recognize all the Veterans and active-duty men and women who are here today – We salute you and we give freely to you our deepest respect and gratitude for all you have done to make our nation safer.”
Mack made sure she mentioned the families of all veterans, past and present, who put their lives in danger for their country.
The families have also made sacrifices, she said.
“I would also like to recognize all military families, past and present, and to say “thank you” for the tremendously supportive role you play. Too often, the sacrifices and contributions made by the families of those who serve in our armed forces are overlooked, and we owe each and every one of them our deepest thanks. “
Mack spoke of her own father, a World War II veteran.
“My dad was a patriot, and a man of immense integrity and generosity who devoted much of his life to giving back to those around him, as an airman, as a doctor and as a citizen.
“He was a waist gunner in a B-17 crew in the Mighty 8th Air Force, in the 95th Bomb Group, 334th Squadron. This group was the first unit ever to strike Berlin in a daylight raid, without the cover of darkness.
"My father returned home from that war, but many did not,” Mack said.
“I am profoundly struck with shock and anguish whenever I see footage or photos of the epic battles with the Flying Fortresses against the German Luftwaffe.
“It was by the Grace of God that my father did not perish over Germany while so many others did.”
Mack said her family’s history of service to the country dates back to the country's blood-soaked birth.
“I just recently … found that my relatives fought in the Revolutionary War – they were deeply engaged in the fight for democracy and freedom from tyranny.
“One of my ancestors even owned the home where George Washington planned the Battle of Monmouth.”
Mack asked that everyone take a moment to remember all those who have been wounded in the various wars fought by servicemen and servicewomen.
"On this special occasion, let us also remember our wounded warriors … because they’re heroes, too. And we must never, ever forget the ones who never came home at all – the missing in action…but not missing from our prayers.
"Today, in small towns and large cities all across the United States, grateful Americans gather to honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives so we may live in freedom.
"It is our duty now to pick up the flag so the freedom they died for can endure forever."