On Veterans Day we pause to express our gratitude

The people of Maine have always answered our nation’s call to service. From the Battle of Machias, to the Battle of Gettysburg, or to shores beyond our own, we know that our grit, work ethic, and cold winters have grown our Maine heroes.

This is Representative Elect Benjamin Hymes with the Weekly Republican Radio Address – A Veterans Day tribute.

This Veterans Day seems somewhat more tranquil than recent years. I cannot help but think about the tragic military events that transpired two years ago with our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the loss of 13 American soldiers. The footage of families trying to give up their children to American service members gives me pause to offer thanks for the privilege of living in this amazing country where we are free from such heart wrenching choices.  It simultaneously fills me with great sadness over the frightening future the innocent civilians of Iraq and Afghanistan face because of political calculations. It’s true what they say, soldiers win wars, and politicians lose them. 

We should be proud of all those who have served us throughout history.  The long unending line of veterans who worked to preserve peace, ensure safety and justice for people across our globe. I am proud to be an American because of people like them.

Thank you to the generations of Americans who fought during the Global War on Terrorism. Thank you to those who enlisted before September 11th, 2001 and those who enlisted because of those deadly terrorist attacks.

Thank you to those who enlisted during and right after high school. Thank you to those who pressed pause on their lives to join the effort. Thank you to those who enlisted who were not old enough to remember how the Global War on Terrorism started. It is because of these Americans, these veterans, that we are free.

We still have Americans working to protect our liberties and ensure freedom across the world. Please pray for our soldiers who are currently overseas and in harm’s way. Please pray for their safety and for quick homecomings.

I hope you join me in taking a moment to thank and honor our Maine veterans, active duty and reserve soldiers. We owe them, and their families, a debt of gratitude for their service to our great nation. There are several veterans, including myself, who will serve in the House Republican caucus. We look forward to applying our unique talents and commitment to a better Maine. 

This Veterans Day let us also remember even though our veterans have left the battlefield, that does not mean the battlefield has left them. This Veterans Day, I want you to also honor those who struggled with their service after coming home. 22 veterans take their lives every day. We can all do our part by checking on the veterans in our circles, donating to local veterans groups and organizations, sharing stories, and talking about mental health.

Our veterans had our backs overseas, it is right we have theirs when they come home. Call a friend today.

For those who need to speak to someone, please call the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255.

I would like to end this address with the iconic poem, In Flanders Fields, written by John McCrae during the First World War:

In Flanders Fields

BY JOHN MCCRAE

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

        In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

        In Flanders fields.

This has been Representative Elect Benjamin Hymes with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

Thank you, again, to our past and present Maine Veterans for your service to our country.

May God Bless America.

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