COMMENTARY: Remembering the price of freedom this Memorial Day


As we gather with family and friends on Memorial Day, we are mindful of the words of scripture: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for others.”

This Memorial Day, let us be mindful of the service and sacrifice of so many heroes who have done so much for all of us.

Because of their courage, we are safe. Because of their conviction, we are free. It is fitting and appropriate that we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us, for who they are and what they have done for all of us. They gave their lives to pay the price of our freedom.

That’s why we gather on Memorial Day — to remember our heroes, to remember their acts of courage, to remember our debt to each of them. To remember they are the ones who make America the home of the brave.

In Texas, we have always honored the fallen and our living veterans, from the first days of the Republic to now. Remembering and honoring them is a commitment and a tradition as old as Texas itself.

But how should we remember them?

One way you can is to attend Memorial Day ceremonies or place flags at the headstones in our state veteran’s cemeteries. Texas State Veterans Cemeteries are hallowed grounds that express our respect for those who served, and provide solace and serenity for the family members and friends who are still living. I and our team at the Texas Veterans Land Board encourage you to volunteer and place flags on each grave at all veteran’s cemeteries this Memorial Day. The Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission will host Memorial Day commemorations through the weekend.

We do this to remember our heroes. Brave young Americans have fought and died in every American conflict from the Revolution to the War on Terror. We thank God that such heroes lived and that such heroes were willing to die for all of us.

As Texas Land Commissioner, I have made it a hallmark of my time in office to honor the fallen and raise awareness about the challenges facing our living veterans. From those facing injuries to those transitioning back into civilian life to those struggling with PTSD, the challenges facing our veterans are many, and so are the opportunities for the rest of us to serve them.

We have this opportunity each Memorial Day, and to make honoring them a way of life every day.

So we remember our heroes, their sacrifices and our debt to them. We honor those left behind. And we remember that behind every hero is a family. We honor every widow, every child and every parent who ever lost a loved one in uniform.

This Memorial Day, let us pledge ourselves to the work of honoring all those who have paid a price. And let us stand in the Texas tradition of honoring veterans and recognizing their service.

Greater love has no one than this — to lay down one’s life for others. To each and every veteran today, and to those who fell defending our freedom, we say thank you. Freedom is not, has never been, and will never be free. It will always come with a price. To those who paid that ultimate price, and to those who put your life on the line for us: Thank you for a life well-lived, and thank you for a job well-done.

On Saturday, a flag laying ceremony was held at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery, in Mission in preparation for Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony, which begins at 8:30 a.m. The cemetery is located at 2520 Inspiration Road in Mission. Please plan to attend, or find a way to serve a veteran who needs you now.

They served us. It’s our time to serve them.