To the Editor,
Every American is connected to Memorial Day. Even when we don’t see it, we’re surrounded by sacrifice. Brave men and women gave everything for us, cementing the bonds we share, protecting the people we love, and demonstrating why this nation is the last best hope for the world. Gallant sacrifices may go unknown or lightly contemplated.
Today is about changing that. Today is about reflection.
On May 12, 2007, my wife and I were married in my hometown at the church I grew up attending. Surrounded by family and friends we exchanged our vows, beginning the wonderful family we now have. It remains one of the best days of my life.
On May 12, 2007, then SPC Alex Jimenez went missing south of Baghdad following an attack where several US Army soldiers gave their lives. While he was missing in action, his wife, who was in the United States without documentation, was facing deportation. Subsequently, the federal Military Parole in Place program was established to help undocumented family members of veterans obtain US citizenship, allowing SSG Jimenez’s wife to remain in the US.
I remember when SSG Jimenez’s remains were recovered. I was deployed in Diyala Province, Iraq.
This week, my colleagues and I passed the SSG Alex R Jimenez Military Family Legacy Act, which dedicates state resources to help the loved ones of service members expedite their journey to citizenship.
Consider the sacrifice the Jimenez family has made on our behalf. Consider how they faced persecution with patriotism. I am in awe of them. I know that we dream the same American Dream.
On Memorial Day, safeguard the memory of those who gave their lives in defense of our country. Keep it free from bickering and above the daily pitfalls that can rule our moods. Honor their sacrifice, their memory, and their families. Embrace the shared duty called citizenship. Seek what’s right, and not what’s convenient.
Let them help make us better people.
Senator Jake Ashby R-Castleton