A wreath laying ceremony I attended this holiday season wasn't about holiday cheer. It was a very quiet, respectful and solemn affair of laying wreaths for our military men and women so they will never be forgotten.
The ceremony is held every December and I felt this year's theme was very appropriate: "The Christmas they never had. In honor of those who had to spend the holiday away from loved ones. In memory of those who never made it home."
It is only fitting that we take one day out of this festive season to pause and reflect on those whose sacrifices have given Americans the freedom to enjoy this time of year as we choose.
This past week marked the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor: Dec. 7, 1941.
President Roosevelt called it "a date which will live in infamy."
While the spirit of the American people was shaken, Roosevelt told the nation, "With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God."
Roosevelt didn't live to see it, but he was correct.
As the war neared its end in 1945, President Truman paid tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during America's efforts in World War II.
He said, "America will never forget [that] ... because of these sacrifices, the dawn of justice and freedom throughout the world slowly casts its gleam across the horizon."
Seven decades later, we continue honor the men and women -- of any era -- who put their country before themselves.
We remember our fallen heroes, honor those who serve today, and teach our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our way of life.
The wreath laying ceremonies send a powerful message to the families whose loved ones are in combat today. I hope we can help assure the members of our military and their families that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.
As we honor their sacrifice, we must also honor our promises to veterans.
It is why we continue to move forward with a modernized and improved VA Medical Center in Omaha, so our veterans have access to the first-rate care they were promised -- and they deserve.
It is why we continue to work to establish a veterans' cemetery in eastern Nebraska, so veterans can be interred closer to their families and their service can be recognized closer to home.
It is why Congress just passed a Veterans' Jobs bill that I co-sponsored, so veterans can successfully transition back to civilian life. We need them to continue serving America at home, in our neighborhoods, our towns, and our communities.
It is a small price to pay for what our veterans have given us.