Honoring our Fallen Servicemembers

Dear Friends,

For many in Delaware and across our nation, Memorial Day is a holiday to mark the start of summer, often celebrated with barbecues and time outdoors with family and friends. More importantly, we must also not forget why we recognize this day, and take a moment to remember the generations of Americans in our Armed Forces who have laid down their lives for our country. This day means something special to my own family, as my own maternal grandmother was a Gold Star Mother.

Uncle Bob, or Bobby as he was better known, served in the Air Force and Navy in World War II. Bobby died in 1944 at the age of 19 during a kamikaze attack in the western Pacific on his aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Suwanee. While I never had a chance to meet my Uncle Bob, but long after his death, his memory has continued to live on within our family.

This day also carries significance for the people of Delaware, especially those around our state’s capital city. Separate from being one of the busiest air bases across our Armed Forces, Dover Air Force Base is also sacred ground as the first destination for servicemembers killed in action abroad, for all branches of the military. Scores of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice have been repatriated to Dover Air Force Base over the years, and given the solemn, dignified arrival fit for their heroism.

As a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves, I believe that honoring these men and women is a tradition we cannot take for granted. We must remember the sacrifices made by heroes, like my uncle, who fought and died protecting the freedoms we hold so dearly today.

I hope you’ll join me today in honoring the sacrifices of our fallen servicemembers, and also thank our veterans in the First State and around the country.

Happy Memorial Day and God bless America,

Tom Carper