Last week, I spoke on the Senate floor about three remarkable servicemembers from North Carolina. These three young men – Darrion Hicks, Sean Brazas and Jacob Levy – volunteered to join the military during a time of war. They traded their youths and spent time away from family and friends. They selflessly put their lives on the line for their friends, their loved ones, for people they never met.
They are three of the 336 U.S. servicemen and women we have lost in the past year.
Sometimes, I feel as though we do not hear enough about the brave souls who have lost their lives while trying to make the world safer for the rest of us. Our focus is too often drawn to news of the elections, of the economy, of politics, of celebrities, of scandals, of the rich and famous, and of the simply bizarre.
We all need to pay respect, to honor, and to remember the very men and women whose commitment, dedication and courage are what make our country strong. To respect and remember the families they left behind.
I had the honor to speak with the families of Darrion Hicks, Sean Brazas and Jacob Levy, and their stories were both moving and heartbreaking. I wanted to share them with the country – with my fellow North Carolinians – because I think it is so important that all Americans understand the sacrifices our military and their families make for each of us.
And it’s important to remember that, while we are scaling down our presence in Afghanistan and bringing most of our service men and women home, this war is still going on.
Right now, there are 6,000 service members from North Carolina deployed in Afghanistan – 6,000 of our finest sons and daughters, moms and dads, who are fighting every day to protect our way of life.
We must not forget them, we must not forget their families, and we must not forget those who have given their lives for us and for our country. They come from our small towns, our big cities and rural areas. They are our neighbors. They are our fellow Americans. They are our heroes; they are our fellow North Carolinians.
To these men and women, to their families, we owe an eternal debt of gratitude. May God bless them and may God bless America.