This weekend Floridians throughout our state will remember the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have lost their lives while serving our country throughout our nation’s history. As we come together with family and friends to honor our fallen military and veterans, let us also bring to mind the tremendous sacrifice they have made for our benefit.
The following is a compilation of the messages and tributes put forth by Florida’s elected officials and politicians in honor of Memorial Day:
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, via Twitter:
“Today we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. May God bless the souls of those who died defending our liberty. #MemorialDay2016”
Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera:
“We remember our nation’s heroes on Memorial Day, and everyday, and we are privileged to live in the greatest country in the history of the world because of their sacrifices. We are deeply thankful for those who have served our country so honorably, and for those who serve our country currently. We are forever indebted to them for their bravery, service and honor.”
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam:
“Today, we remember all those who’ve given their lives so that we can live ours freely.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi:
“This Memorial Day, we remember and honor all the members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives protecting our country. These heroes and their selfless actions secure our rule of law, a bedrock to the American way of life and the protection of our individual rights and freedoms. I encourage all Floridians to thank a service member this weekend. It is due to their dedicated service that we are able to enjoy our freedom as we spend time with friends and family.”
U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham:
“On Memorial Day, we pause to take the time to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation.
“We also owe thanks to the veterans here in North Florida and across our country who served proudly in the military and fought to protect our freedom both at home and abroad.
“America wouldn’t be the land of the free without the actions of our nation’s most courageous individuals.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you — we will never forget the valor and sacrifice of the men and women who defend our freedom.”
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, via Twitter:
U.S Rep. Dan Webster:
“Our American freedoms are inseparably linked to the sacrifice of the brave men and women who have given their lives to fight for and defend our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As we observe Memorial Day, it is with deep respect that we pause as a nation to honor the memory of those who have given the last full measure of devotion and made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.”
Congressional candidate Brian Mast has an op-ed on the meaning of Memorial Day here.
Congressional candidate Mary Thomas:
“Today we will observe Memorial Day, a day when all Americans should pause to reflect on and thank God for the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country. I will be doing just that this morning in Perry, Florida at their Memorial Day ceremony.
“I want to deliver a special message to all of you who are in the military or who have already served. This is my pledge to you, if elected, I will always fight for you, your families and for our country, first and foremost.
“To those serving in our Armed Services, I will work to restore our military might and we will once again listen to our commanders and generals and let our military, not the politicians, lead the way in destroying ISIS once and for all.
“To our Veterans, America and your government will once again honor you and treat you with the dignity and respect you have earned.
“As the former counsel to the Florida Defense Support Task Force and former General Counsel to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, I have served our military and our Veterans, and in Congress I will fight the powers that be to once again return our country to greatness.
“As a first-generation American who has worked hard for everything I’ve achieved, I know just how special and precious the American Dream is.
“Thank you to our service men and women and to those who died to make that American Dream possible for me and my family. I’m running for Congress to save the American Dream for your family and the next generation.”
State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto:
“As you gather with friends and family this Memorial Day, I hope you will stand with me in honoring the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in protection of our fundamental freedoms. These fallen heroes surrendered their lives to protect our families, our future, and the country we both love.
“The United States Military has been a rock for nearly 240 years, defending the cause of freedom. In that time, our world has changed and our Armed Forces have changed with it – but the dedication, courage, and selflessness of the men and women in uniform has remained a constant. The spirit of our American soldiers truly shines throughout the history of our Nation.
“As we observe Memorial Day, I am grateful for all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and women, and Marines who have bravely defended our Nation, and for those who continue to serve today. The liberty we enjoy today is the result of their courageous actions. Freedom certainly isn’t free; it has come at the cost of many heroes’ lives. Thank you all for your service, sacrifice, and your continued dedication to our country.”
State Sen. Jeff Brandes:
“As we enjoy this Memorial Day, please join me in reflecting on the true meaning of the holiday: honoring our fallen heroes that gave their lives defending our liberty and way of life, where every American has the opportunity to determine their own future.
“As a combat Veteran of the Iraq War, this day is particularly important to me as I remember the brave men and women that never made it home.
“So as you take part in this today’s activities, please remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice.
“From my family to yours I wish you a safe, responsible, and enjoyable Memorial Day.”
State Sen. Bill Galvano, via Twitter:
“To the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country and #, we remember you today.”
State Sen. Rene Garcia:
“Thank you cannot ever explain how grateful I am for those that have sacrificed everything serving this country. Today I will proudly remember and honor those who died fighting for our freedom as well as their families who have handled their loss with God’s grace. On this Memorial Day, let this country never forget the gifts of liberty and security servicemen and servicewomen have given us. God Bless.”
State Rep. Janet Adkins:
“This Monday we celebrate and honor those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country. As the daughter of a U.S. Navy veteran and as a citizen of this great country, I applaud, salute and thank those that sacrificed for others. Their service is not forgotten. We set aside this day to honor them.
“Our country and our communities have so much to be thankful for on this Memorial Day as we gather throughout to celebrate our freedom.
“May God continue to bless our great country.”
State Rep. Dennis Baxley:
“All gave some, and some gave all. Today, Marion County remembers those that gave all in defense and protection of our freedom. We will be forever grateful for your sacrifice.”
State Rep. Bob Cortes:
“On this Memorial Day, I want to express how deeply grateful I am for the men and women who paid the ultimate price to preserve our great nation. Throughout our history, brave Americans have served our country with courage, dignity, and determination.
We honor those who have fallen in the high calling of defending the principles of liberty and individual rights on which we were founded. I think also of their families, who bear the burden of their loss most personally. On this and every day, let us remember them and do all we can to be worthy of their sacrifice.”
State Rep. Dane Eagle:
“In Florida, nearly every family has been touched by the loss of a loved one in time of war. We can all remember an uncle, cousin, son, daughter, or father who has given themselves in the ultimate expression of sacrifice.
“On this day, I remember my Uncle Harry, who gave his life on the USS Indianapolis which delivered the world’s first atomic bomb, ultimately leading to the end of WWII. I also remember one of my closest friends, Jonathan Cote, who gave his life defending our freedoms in Iraq.
“Memorial Day is not a time for mourning. In fact, sorrow would be the last thing on the minds of those who we remember on this day. This is a time to express gratitude and hope. We honor the fallen and celebrate the freedom they have defended.
“Whether they lay in the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, in the shadow of our Nation’s Capital in Arlington, in the family cemetery, or in the depths of the Pacific, we remember them and we honor them.
“We recognize the brave sacrifices of America’s fallen soldiers, who showed by their service that freedom is not free. We know bad things happen when good men do nothing. Thank God for the good men and women who resolved to fight for this country and our ideals.”
State Rep. Matt Gaetz:
“Each Memorial Day, we honor the courageous men and women who gave their lives serving our nation and defending our freedom. But my friend Lt. Nathan Nelson personifies a Memorial Day mission that lasts all year: remember those who died, but don’t forget those who almost did. You can learn more about Nathan’s story and our state’s commitment to our servicemembers in my column that ran in the Northwest Florida Daily News yesterday.
“Another hero to all of us is Air Force Master Sergeant Joe Deslauriers, who lost both legs and much of his left arm during his 4th tour in Afghanistan. I met Joe through “Building Homes for Heroes,” a program that provides housing to wounded warriors and their families.
“To learn more about Joe’s service, please take a few moments to watch the below video, and you’ll be as moved as I am by his courage.
“The liberties that we enjoy every day wouldn’t be possible without those that fought to protect them. Today, please join me in honoring all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms.
“From my family to yours, I wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.”
State Rep. Bill Hager:
“Memorial Day is about more than just picnics and barbecues at the beach. It is a day to remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Please join me in remembering and thanking our fallen heroes, as well as their families.
“The 9th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the South Florida National Cemetery will be held on Monday at 10am. The Cemetery is located at 6501 South State Road 7 in Lake Worth. It is open to the public and is a countywide event to honor our heroes.
“If you are using the weekend for special time with your family and friends, enjoy, be safe, and celebrate the beginning of summer!”
State Rep. Shawn Harrison:
“This Memorial Day, our family remembers Lt. Dennis Baird Gleason, KIA 4/15/69 over the Sea of Japan. He left behind a wife and 7 month old daughter. This past August the United States Navy honored Lt. Gleason with a full military service at Arlington National Cemetery. It was the most amazing and moving experience I have ever had the honor of taking part in. Like many children of heroes, Susan Harrison never got to know her dad, but his memory lives on in her and his grandchildren.
“As we enjoy our families this weekend, remember the reason we have that freedom. There are a quarter of a million reminders at Arlington.
“Thank you Lt. Gleason and the millions of other service men and women for your sacrifice and the amazing families you left behind.”
State Rep. Jake Raburn:
“This Memorial Day, join us in the remembrance of the men and women who served our country so faithfully.”
State Rep. Greg Steube:
“Our country and our community has so much to be thankful for on this Memorial Day. As we gather this weekend at barbeques, picnics and parades, I would ask that we all take a moment to remember what Memorial Day is all about. To the families of our fallen patriots, I offer you my deepest heartfelt condolences. As a nation, we can never adequately express our appreciation for their service. We will never be able to adequately express our sorrow and sympathy for your loss. As a veteran, I morn your loss and I carry with me the names of those who I served with. Take heart, the memories you carry are also carried by those they served with. They are not forgotten; nor are you.”
State Rep. Ed Narain:
“This Memorial Day we commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice to provide us with the freedoms we have as Americans. Almost one million servicemen and women have given their lives since the Revolutionary war to safeguard the rights we sometimes take for granted.
“Freedom is not free and we honor those who were willing to pay the price for our safety and existence as the greatest country in the world. Please remember to pray for their families.”
State Rep. Ross Spano, via Facebook:
“Thank you! Thank you to the men and women who gave their lives to guarantee our freedom and perpetuate our democracy. Thank you to the families that shared these guardians with us. Thank you!”
State Rep. Dana Young:
“I’m proud to call Tampa Bay home, and we’re honored to live alongside the brave service members at MacDill Air Force Base that play such a critical role in keeping our community and country safe.
“From my family to yours, I wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.”
State House candidate Alex Barrio:
“This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, a long weekend where many of us will spend time with our families, friends, and loved ones. While celebrating the three-day weekend, we should take a moment to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country and the values we all hold dear: life, liberty, and the American dream. We should also keep in our thoughts and prayers those currently serving our country in Afghanistan and around the world.”
State House candidate Jim Messer:
“I hope you have plans for a weekend filled with family and friends. I will be walking neighborhoods, and if you are home, I look forward to talking with you.
“As we approach Memorial Day, I am reminded of my service in the Army. The majority of my time in the military was in what was West Germany preparing for the great Soviet invasion that, thankfully, never occurred. I was lucky. Many others have not been so fortunate.
“Each generation of our military stands ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. This weekend we honor those who did.”
State House candidate Sean Shaw:
“From the Shaw family to yours, we hope you’re enjoying a safe holiday weekend. Please take a moment of reflection to consider all of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the rights we enjoy every day. We can never repay the debt, but we can give our sincere gratitude to those who’ve paid the cost for the defense of our nation and our freedoms. Thank you for your service.”
St. Petersburg City Councilman Ed Montanari:
“On this Memorial Day weekend we remember those that gave the last full measure of devotion to our nation. I will never forget my friends and fellow F-16 pilots that were killed in service to our country and that remind me that freedom is never free. May God bless them all and their families: Lt Col Bill George, Lt Col Roy Neisz, Lt Col Dick Anderson, Lt Col Dick Allain, Capt Chris Barber, Capt Larry Lee, Capt Ron Speidel,, Capt Arnie Clark, and Major Sam D’Angelo.”
Duval County GOP Chair Cindy Graves: