Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, May 19, 2014

Armed Forces and Memorial Day

This is a good time of year to focus our attention on our current military, our veterans and those who sacrificed their lives to defend this country. With the legislative session over, some of my time will be spent serving duty and attending training exercises for the Missouri National Guard. When I put on a uniform, or enter a military installation, I can’t help but be grateful for those who served before, and those who serve with me.

Saturday, May 17, was Armed Forces Day, a day set aside for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. Prior to 1949, each branch of service had a separate day. Missouri’s own president,
Harry S Truman, consolidated the days into one holiday when the branches were reorganized under the Department of Defense.

This coming Monday, May 26, is Memorial Day. Memorial Day, unlike other veteran’s and military holidays, is set aside to honor those who died serving our country. Originally founded as Decoration Day following the Civil War, Memorial Day was originally celebrated on May 30, and moved to the last Monday in May in 1971.

As a current, active military member, a veteran of the Iraq war, and a participant in overseas humanitarian efforts, I know and understand the dangers inherent in being a member of the military. Each time a service member gears up, whether at a U.S. base, overseas in a peace keeping or humanitarian capacity, or in an active combat area, they represent us and assume the risks. For some the risks are higher than others. Sadly, even on supposedly safe bases there is a level of danger.

Our cities, states and nation all have monuments to those who have lost their lives in various wars. Some are quite touching, some are educational, and some are just simple reminders. The National World War I Museum and the Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial in Kansas City are great places to start in the metropolitan area.

Since this time last year, at least four Missouri residents were killed defending their country. Please join me in praying for their families, and in remembering these men for their service and ultimate sacrifice. 

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, Chesterfield

Marine Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers, Poplar Bluff

Army Special Agent Joseph M. Peters, Springfield

Army Private Jonathon M. D. Hostetter, Humphreys

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions, and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.