For many people, Memorial Day is a time to roll out the grill and open the pool.
However, this truly special American holiday plays a much more important role on the calendar than simply marking the start of the summer season.
It is on Memorial Day, and Veterans Day, that we honor all of the men and women in uniform who defended our freedom. It is a time to remember their service and pay tribute to their comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Even so, no matter how flowery and eloquent the speech in the village square or the veterans’ cemetery may be, the basic truth is that words are simply inadequate to thoroughly express our appreciation for that service.
Beyond the simple and heartfelt words of gratitude on those special occasions, Pennsylvania is committed to supporting those who stood tall in defense of freedom in times of peace and during those of conflict.
Remembering and honoring Pennsylvania’s current and former service members is the job of the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.
The department provides a number of great programs, but some of the most important involve the care provided by the six extended care facilities for veterans that are located throughout the state, including the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home here in Erie.
These facilities provide personal and skilled nursing care and are dedicated to supporting Pennsylvania’s veterans and their spouses.
I have been privileged to serve on the board of the Soldiers and Sailors Home, which gives me the opportunity to see first-hand the great services and care these veterans’ homes provide.
I am thankful for the work of the staff at all of the facilities. It is certainly not easy helping these veterans, many of whom are troubled by reduced mental capabilities that are prevalent among our older population.
But to their credit, these dedicated staff members and their colleagues do it in a professional and caring manner day-in-and day-out for nearly 1,500 veterans and their spouses across the state.
I encourage everyone to visit the Soldiers and Sailors Home to remind our heroes that they are not forgotten. Listen to their stories and what they did for our country.
Then beyond that, we all must continue to show our defenders that we remember them by supporting their needs not just on Memorial Day and Veterans Day – but all year round.
In closing, I encourage local residents to visit my website, www.senatorlaughlin.com, and my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/senatorlaughlin/, to keep up to date with state government news and learn more about state services and agencies.
Contact: Matt Azeles email@example.com