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:
Governor Rick Scott:
“My wife Ann and I join Floridians this Memorial Day in honoring the men and women of the United States military who have given their lives to serve our country throughout our nation’s history. It is because of their bravery and sacrifice that we are able to enjoy the freedoms of our great country and have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. We continue to pray for the members and families of the Armed Forces who are honorably serving today.
“As we take this opportunity to join our families and friends in enjoying everything our beautiful state has to offer, I urge all Floridians to pause for one minute to observe the National Moment of Remembrance to honor America’s fallen on Monday at 3:00 p.m. local time. This moment should serve as a time to remember, reflect, and honor the men and women of our military who have bravely served our state and our nation.”
Former Governor Charlie Crist:
“The single hardest moments serving as Governor were when I met with the families of our Florida brothers and sisters who were killed in service of our country.
“Every single one of them volunteered for duty. Many were the families of National Guardsmen, who by day were teachers, cops, bankers, and other members of our community — and by night, they did heroic things to defend the freedoms we all enjoy. They all believed that defending an ideal was more important than their own lives.
“They are heroes to all of us, including their families. But they are also parents, siblings, children, friends, and neighbors. A grateful nation can never fill the void they left behind.
“I never knew the right words to say to those families. “Thank you” could never fully express both the sorrow and gratitude for their sacrifice.
“Everything we do is because of those who gave their lives to our country.
“So on this Memorial Day, let’s all try to commit ourselves to honor their sacrifice a little more — not just today, but everyday. Thank a soldier in an airport. Greet the woman wearing the “Proud Army Mom” t-shirt. Buy an extra baked good at the local VFW.
“Treat each other with a little more respect.
“And most importantly, be grateful and forever humbled by those who love their country so much that they would die for all of us.
“God bless their memories.”
Gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich:
“Today is Memorial Day. For all of us, this is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends. But it should also be a day of reflection.
“Today we honor those who have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and liberty — our way of life. We owe an incalculable debt to all of them, to all our wounded warriors, and to the families of the fallen who have sacrificed so much for us.
“Those who died are not remembered for being white or black, male or female, native-born or immigrant, or Democrat or Republican. They are remembered as Americans – brave men and women who gave their lives so that we might live in peace and freedom.
“It is easy to take for granted the freedoms and rights we enjoy in our country. But our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and our right to vote – to freely elect our leaders – have been secured time and time again through the sacrifice of millions of young men and women.
“We can best honor that sacrifice by doing our part as citizens – working together to strengthen our communities.
“Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.”
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater:
“As we approach Memorial Day this Monday, may the memory of the men and women who bravely gave their lives for our exceptional country be at the forefront of our thoughts and reflections. We are privileged to be able call America our home and have fellow countrymen willing to risk everything to preserve our nation’s freedom.
“Memorial Day is a somber remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom as well as a celebration of the virtues and values that have led generation after generation to courageously serve with valor for the betterment of others.
“I am eternally grateful to the men and women who selflessly serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces. Your remarkable strength and unwavering commitment to this country is why the United States of America continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink:
“Our armed forces make sacrifices to protect and serve our country every day. As the daughter and wife of Marines, this day of remembrance has always had a special meaning to me and to my family.
“On Memorial Day we have an opportunity to reflect and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Country and the freedom we all enjoy. Today, while we spend time with family and friends, I ask that you please take some time to honor our fallen heroes and their families.
“Thank you and God Bless”
Attorney General Pam Bondi:
“This Memorial Day, we honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for this great country. Because of their sacrifice, the United States of America remains a beacon of liberty and prosperity around the world. I am forever thankful for the courage and selflessness these great Americans exhibited defending our country. I’m also eternally grateful for those serving in our armed forces today, protecting our great nation and our freedom.”
Congressional candidate Gwen Graham:
“Today is a day to remember the heroes who have selflessly served America and died while protecting our freedom. They made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, one that many of us can’t ever fully grasp. It’s been said that “a hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” These men and women fought for our values and way of life, and inspire us to keep the great traditions of our country alive just as those that have fallen are kept alive in our hearts. We honor their memory today and thank their families for the legacy of service they have left behind.”
State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto:
“Today as you gather with friends and family to enjoy barbecue and other summer festivities, I hope you will stand with me in honoring the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country. These fallen heroes surrendered their lives to protect our families, our futures and our fundamental freedoms.
“For nearly 240 years, the United State Military has defended 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 remain constant. From Valley Forge to Desert Storm, from San Juan Hill to the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fighting spirit of the American warriors shines throughout the history of our Nation.“As we observe Memorial Day, I am truly grateful for all the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and women, and Marines who bravely defended our Nation, and for those who continue to serve today. The liberty we enjoy today is the result of their courageous actions. Thank you all for your service, sacrifice, and all you continue to do for our country.”
“Remember our military, their family and all that love and support them. We can never thank them enough for their many sacrifices.”
State Representative 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.
“As we pause to give thanks to these men and women, let us also take time to thank others that have also given their lives for our community. Recently the Florida legislature named a portion of AIA as a memorial to fallen officers. In their recent memorial service, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, the city of Fernandina Beach and the Florida Highway Patrol gathered for a joint tribute honoring those that lost their lives in the line of duty
- The sheriff’s office has lost four officers. Patrol Deputy Joseph W. Robinson was shot and killed in 1891 while trying to apprehend a suspect in Fernandina Beach. Patrol Deputy Everett E. Johns died in 1905 while serving an arrest warrant. Patrol Deputy Jeremiah Mattox was shot and killed in 1954 trying to break up a domestic dispute. Chief Bailiff Lewis Hailey died in 1992 in a car crash.
- The Fernandina Beach Police Department lost Chief James Surrency in 1930 after he was shot and killed while responding off-duty to a murder call.
- The Florida Highway Patrol lost Trooper Charles Parks in 1973 who was shot and killed by two armed robbery suspects
“Many others put their lives in harm’s way each day for the safety of others. Police offices, firefighters, emergency responders are just some of the many who have laid down their lives for us and I honor their sacrifice. May God bless all those that serve along with their families.”
State Representative Jim Boyd, via Twitter:
“Today we honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. God Bless those men and women.”
Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano:
“Memorial Day weekend is truly a solemn day of remembrance for those who have served their country and are no longer with us. Many were killed in action during a time of war. Others, who proudly wore the uniform of the United States Armed Forces, have left us and moved on to greater glory. Let us make certain that we take some time from our busy three days of activities to bring to memory the greatest sacrifice one could ever make for another. Giving up one’s life, or risking it daily to protect our freedoms, is an action worthy of our remembrance.
“As you gather with family and friends this weekend please don’t forget the countless men and women who are unable to enjoy this day because they no longer walk with us. May Memorial Day’s true meaning be real to each and every one of us.
“Have a blessed Memorial Day!”