One of the most defining characteristics of our country is that we are privileged to have the most talented and dedicated military force in the world. These are courageous men and women who took an oath and made the commitment to protect and defend our country. They understood the risks and challenges, and despite it all, they made a decision to live a life of service. America is safer because they are prepared and ready to protect our homeland against threats.  
 
Life in the military is not easy. In their day-to-day lives, service members are making sacrifices to carry out their respective missions. For many, this entails moving every two to three years and leaving loved ones behind for months at a time while they go on a deployment abroad, often missing many important milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and even sometimes the birth of a child
 
We also have a legacy of military heroes here in Ridgecrest who have sacrificed their own lives to protect their fellow citizens. These are warriors, who devoted their lives to fight for America’s defense and our way of life. As a nation, we are indebted to these courageous men and women who have put their country above all else. They and their families deserve our unwavering commitment and recognition. 
 
This Memorial Day, and always, we must not just recognize and honor the fallen, but we must strive to live up to their resolve. We should use this as a moment to rededicate ourselves to the noble cause of service and patriotism. 
 
Our fallen heroes were our neighbors, family members, and friends, and though they each had distinctly unique personalities and ambitions, in common they shared a profound love of country and a deep devotion to freedom.
 
Sadly, each was also taken from us too soon.
 
Though they are not with us today, we will always remember their acts of bravery, their unwavering commitment to protecting our freedoms, and their ultimate sacrifice.
 
God Bless our fallen heroes.

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