Directly behind the Capitol stands a monument honoring those Arkansas families who sacrificed more than most.
The Gold Star Family Memorial Monument reminds us daily here at the Capitol that without those sacrifices, our freedom could not and would not have been preserved.
Arkansas has citizens in nearly every community willing to make such sacrifices.
Whether they volunteered, served during peacetime, or never expected to serve until their draft card arrived, those who wear our nation’s uniform represent the best America has to offer.
Honoring our veterans with words alone falls terribly short if we do not bring those words to life by honoring them equally with our deeds.
We can always offer our support. We can place flags and wreaths at their graves. We can donate to charities that provide for their families.
If you own a business, offer a special veteran discount. Volunteer at the VA hospital. Pick up the tab for the table with a soldier at a restaurant.
We can also honor the lives lost by remembering and retelling their stories.
We can recognize their sacrifices by taking care of their comrades who served. In the Arkansas legislature, we strived to do just that. In recent years, we’ve eliminated taxes on military retirement and survivor benefits. And just this year, we established the Arkansas Military Affairs Council Act and Military Affairs Grant Program. The council will work with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to promote and support military installations for state and local economic development.
President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Those who have enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy, forget in time that men have died to win them.”
May we all remember them this Memorial Day and commit to living a life every day worthy of their sacrifice.