Remember Alabamians who defend our freedoms
Rep. Ronald Grantland
Editor’s note: Due to illness, Enquirer columnist Bob Ingram is taking a break from writing The Alabama Scene. He said he will return as soon as he is able. We wish him well and look forward to his return. The following column is from Rep. Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle. If you’d like to contribute a guest column, call the Editor at 773-6566.
Perhaps the greatest thing about being an American is that we enjoy freedoms that are unparalleled by any other nation in the world. Yet, far too often we take our freedoms for granted.
As Memorial Day approaches, it offers us the opportunity to reflect on the fact that our freedoms are not free. Memorial Day is much more than a day off from work, or the chance to take a long weekend trip. It’s about honoring the people who make it possible for us to enjoy these luxuries. This Memorial Day, I urge you to take a moment and remember those who have given so much to our country in the name of freedom.
Alabamians are known for their willingness to answer the call of duty. Alabamians have defended our freedom since our state’s inception almost 200 years ago. Sometimes these brave souls make the ultimate sacrifice. Through the years, many Alabamians have given their lives in the name of freedom. People willing to give their lives for us and for our country deserve our utmost respect, and that is exactly what Memorial Day is for.
It is vital that we remember the thousands of men and women from our state that have died in the line of duty over the years, as well as the 74 Alabamians who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spending a day to honor their memory is the least that we can do. We must also not forget those who are in harm’s way today. Whether it’s full time active duty military members who hail from our state, or part-time members who have been mobilized, Alabama sends her sons and daughters to defend our nation at a higher rate than almost any other stat. In fact, only Texas has mobilized more guardsmen and reservists in the War on Terror.
Since 9/11, nearly 13,000 Alabama National Guardsmen and Reservists have been called to active duty in response to overseas threats. Currently, Alabama has 2,162 Army National Guardsmen and Reservists deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all across the globe. The National Guard is also preparing to mobilize 650 troops for service in Iraq in the coming weeks. All of these heroes should constantly remain in our thoughts and prayers.
In addition to fighting terrorism across the globe, many military members, Guard members and Reservists are being deployed more often and for longer stretches, and in jobs that are not often thought of as the responsibility of the National Guard.
Our military preserves our security stateside, as well. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina and Rita, and after the tornado in Enterprise, many members of our National Guard helped rebuild destroyed communities, delivered rescue supplies, and helped restore law and order in areas that were devastated.
In some ways, the freedom we have is like good health—we take it for granted until we no longer have it. This Memorial Day, as we remember those who sacrifice for us, let us all be thankful for the many freedoms that we enjoy in the greatest country in the world.