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John Schickel: Let us celebrate our fallen heroes as we gather with family and friends this Memorial Day

The arrival of Memorial Day has come to feel like the start of summer, especially with so many students’ school years ending across the commonwealth. During the holiday weekend, families across our state will begin their yearly traditions and the memory-making we all enjoy.

These moments with family and friends would not be possible without the sacrifices of many who laid down their lives to bless ours. Properly honoring the memory of fallen service members demands a celebration with a heart of gratitude and a deliberate effort to educate our children on the significance of Memorial Day. I love the Florence Memorial Day service. I will be at the ceremony and look forward to seeing you there. Bring your kids because Florence does a great job putting this event together.

Sen. John Schickel

The City of Florence Memorial Day Parade and Program will be held Monday, May 29. It will begin at Boone County High School at 10:00 a.m. and end at the Florence Government Center. After the parade, the ceremony will be held at the Boone County Veterans Memorial located at the Florence Government Center.

How fortunate are we to live as United States citizens and residents of our great state? As is evident in thousands having just cast ballots in the state’s primary election, no other country boasts the freedoms and privileges we enjoy in America, a country founded on religious liberty and the pursuit of happiness, no matter how one may define it.

Protecting those freedoms requires a military force like none other. Memorial Day was established to honor those who perished in the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any conflict in our nation’s history. In the late 1860s, Americans began holding springtime tributes to fallen soldiers, decorating graves, and praying together. These memorial activities became a tradition.

I ask you to join me in memorializing the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

This time of year, I think of those from Boone County who lost their lives in Vietnam, such as Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Charles Fleek and others. I am fortunate to have played a role in honoring heroes like Sgt. Fleek through road-naming dedications here in Boone County. It’s a small means by which we can ensure they are never forgotten.

As you create cherished memories with your family this holiday weekend, engage in conversation with the young people in your life to ensure the special tradition of Memorial Day is not lost. Express to them the magnitude of the holiday. Freedom isn’t free.

Remember the words written by President John Adams to Benjamin Rush in 1808: “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” Remember our fallen heroes who fulfilled their obligation to their nation more than most others ever will.

It is my honor to serve as your state senator. I encourage you to seek a Memorial Day ceremony honoring our fallen military members among your other family traditions. I wish you and yours a safe and blessed Memorial Day weekend.

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, represents the 11th Senate District in northern and central Boone County. He is Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee chair. He also serves as a Senate Banking and Insurance, Judiciary, and Natural Resources and Energy committee member.

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