“The military is at war. America is at the mall.” This has become a popular phrase used by military service members and Internet bloggers alike to remind Americans that U.S. troops need our support, encouragement and prayers every day.
They fight on foreign soil across the globe to protect the liberty and freedom that we cherish here at home. They fight to preserve the freedoms that many Americans practice in their daily lives, such as protesting, gathering at town hall meetings and voting.
This Memorial Day, remember that our soldiers deserve our thanks and praise not just one day a year, but every day that we exercise the freedoms they risk their lives to preserve.
As state legislators, our utmost duty and responsibility is to represent you, the citizens of Georgia. We are bound by the Constitution to protect your rights, including your right to freedom of speech, due process and your right to petition. We are elected to protect your rights, but we are only a small piece of a democracy that ensures nobody can take away your liberties.
A far bigger part of that democracy is the brave men and women who make up the U.S. armed forces. These fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters put their lives on the line every day to protect our rights, our freedoms, our democracy and our Constitution.
Every day we hear of protestors exercising their right to speak against their government. Town hall meetings take place throughout the United States, allowing citizens to speak directly to their representatives. The news media also keeps a watchful eye on politicians. We find these freedoms exercised at all levels of politics — from outside the White House to the front steps of our State Capitol in Atlanta.
Citizens rally and fight for teachers, they protest against taxes, they come together and demonstrate for animal rights. Whatever the cause, they are there because we live in a truly great nation that affords us our rights and because those liberties are protected by our soldiers each and every day.
I receive hundreds of phone calls, letters and e-mails from constituents daily expressing their opinions on policies and bills being debated by the state legislature. I welcome the feedback and the chance to build a stronger relationship with my constituents. Such correspondence is a crucial part of the democratic process.
The citizens who take the time to communicate with their lawmakers become a valuable resource, giving legislators a better idea of the needs and concerns of their constituency and if efforts to adopt new policies or revise existing laws will truly benefit those they are trying to help.
It may be easy to take this process for granted, but every American’s freedom to converse with their elected officials is a right worth fighting for, a right for which many have died.
Since the first colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775 to fight for independence, our nation is still fighting with bravery, valor and dignity. The men and women who serve in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard do not know how to stop until the job is done.
They continue fighting every day to protect our rights to freedom of speech, to due process, to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. We must continue to support them in every way possible.
Do not limit your gratitude to those in uniform; military families serve their country from the home front with great sacrifice.
These selfless families spend countless nights praying for their soldier’s safe return home. The price they pay is just as great as the sacrifice their loved ones make to keep us safe. They serve with worry, stress, pride, faith, and above all, love for their soldier and for their country.
If you know someone who has a loved one serving overseas, invite them to dinner, help do yard work, even lend your emotional support. Sometimes an ear that listens is the most valued gift.
Every day should be Memorial Day, for we should remember every day what sacrifices have been made in our name. Keep remembering, keep praying and most importantly, don’t stop saying thank you to those in uniform.
They are the lifeblood of this nation.
Sen. Chip Pearson serves as chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He represents the 51st Senate District, which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Pickens and Union counties and portions of Forsyth and White counties. He may be reached at (404) 656-9221 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.