The United States of America is the greatest republic ever blessed by God on the face of the Earth. There are many reasons for that, but the one that seems most accurate is that Americans have a great habit of saying “Thank You.”
Every May, we pause and bring to our minds the sacrifices made by previous generations who went into battle and shed their blood and left us only with the memories of their sacrifice and service. We say “Thank You.”
We make time every year to stop and honor Fathers and Mothers and their sacrifices and love. We simply say, “Thank You.”
Every week, Christians meet together to honor the Creator of the Universe and their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ all over the nation. As bodies of Believers, we are honored to say, “Thank You.”
Therefore, it is right and proper today for Americans in every corner of this great nation to stop what they are doing, to cease from the normal routines of the day and to look into the eyes of the heroes that surround us and say, “Thank You.”
Today, we are blessed to have among us men and women, members of The Greatest Generation, who left home and hearth and traveled both East and West to beat back the tyrannical forces of Naziism and Imperial Japan. They suffered horrific circumstances as they advanced across France and across the Pacific. They experience deprivation and they saw such horrible things, they could not speak of them, many to this day.
We have brave citizens here who answered the call of President Truman to, once again, travel to Asia and slog across the Korean peninsula, meeting a hardened Chinese army face to face on the battlefield. To this day, they are a forgotten army, lost in the historical attention given to the Great War that preceded them.
In this very group, there are men and women whose love of America and fear of Communism, agreed to go to the jungles of Vietnam. They felt that they were being used as pawns in a domestic political struggle, being forced to stand down many times in the face of certain victory. Many felt the scorn of Americans weary of war back home and some endured even the abuse of friends when they returned home.
There are large numbers of our fellow Americans who volunteered to travel to the steppes of Asia and the deserts of the Middle East and liberate peoples of many countries who were living under the boot of fanatical religious tyranny. They sweated in temperatures of 120 degrees plus and lived under the constant threat of roadside bombs as they traveled from place to place.
All these heroes came home, many injured and disfigured, and got about the business of living. They returned to assume their roles as parents and spouses.
They went back to the jobs that allowed them to leave and serve. They went back to school to learn more about the trades they had been taught in the military. They studied new things and redirected their careers to feed their families.
They returned to their communities of faith with a much different perspective on life and death and service to humanity.
They engaged their communities in new and honorable ways, some participating in memorial bridge and highway dedications, and funeral services for their comrades.
They started organizations to support their comrades who were struggling to cope emotionally and physically from the hardships they suffered during their time of service to the nation.
And, today, unlike our actions on Memorial Day, we, citizens of the Great Volunteer State of Tennessee, can look these neighbors of ours in the eye and say directly to them, “Thank You.”
As your State Representative, and as your neighbor, I say “Thank You.”
On behalf of all people in this County, this District, this State, this Nation, we all say with one voice to you who served selflessly, often to your own detriment,
“Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.”