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Remembering our nation's heroes

Friday, November 11, 2011

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns in Europe fell silent and the War to End All Wars was over. And on that day every year thereafter, Americans have come together to remember the sacrifices made by the veterans who took up arms on their behalf to defend freedom.

In his speech on the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D-Day, President Ronald Reagan said, "We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared so we may always be free."

Veterans Day gives us the chance to honor those who have worn the uniform and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. We are reminded of the selfless acts of heroism of our soldiers who served in past conflicts -- and those who continue to serve around the world today.

Nebraska is home to more than 150,000 veterans and it is with great pride I represent many of them in Congress. Despite the partisan rancor in Washington, the unwavering commitment to our men and women in uniform remains a strong bridge of bipartisanship between political parties.

I also am proud to be a part of two major efforts to offer Nebraskans the chance to ensure our veterans are always remembered. The first is the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project which records veterans' stories so they may become a part of our nation's historical record. Our veterans offer a unique and invaluable window into our nation's history though their experiences serving our country. By preserving their accounts, we not only honor their service but also ensure valuable parts of our history will be remembered for generations to come.

In addition to ensuring our veterans' stories are not forgotten, my office once again will be participating in the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program. The American Red Cross will deliver holiday cards to American military personnel, veterans, and their families across the country and around the world during the holidays. This annual tradition is a wonderful opportunity for families, schools, and other groups to show their support for our troops and our veterans. My district offices in Scottsbluff and Grand Island again will serve as collection points for constituents to drop off postage-free cards.

We have much to be thankful for this holiday season, but nothing more so than the service of our military men and women. Posterity has not remembered all of these brave men and women as individuals. We don't even know where they all rest. But their sacrifice has created a debt which in many ways can never fully be repaid. So let us all come together to honor our veterans - past, present and future -- by remembering all they have done to defend freedom.

For more information about the Veterans' History Project or Holiday Mail for Heroes, please visit http://adriansmith.house.gov or contact his Washington, DC or Nebraska district offices.

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U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith
Washington Report