Memorial Day, for many people, is a day off work and school. But for America’s veterans, it’s much more.
Iraq Veteran and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth spoke at one of Oak Ridge Cemetery’s ceremonies Monday to remind people that yes, many veterans fought for your right to barbeque and go to the beach on this holiday… so it’s important to take some time to thank them.
“Say a prayer of thanks for our men and women who are in harm’s way right now all around the world,” Duckworth told a captive audience. “Say a prayer of thanks for those who are in those hospital beds, recovering from their wounds. Say a prayer of thanks for those families who give so much and yet are so under-recognized for their sacrifices.”
Duckworth lost both her legs and partial use of her right arm when her helicopter was attacked in 2004. Elected to Congress in 2012, she’s also served as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2009 President Barack Obama appointed her as assistant secretary of the VA.
She took time to remember one of her early mentors, Sgt. 1st Class William Chaney, who died during a volunteer deployment to Iraq.
“I think about Bill everyday,” she said. “I know somewhere, he’s got a scotch in one hand, a cigarette burning in the other, he’s looking down at me going, ‘Shut up Tammy, they just want to go and have a barbeque!’ I have to smile. But he motivates me every day.”
The ceremony at Oak Ridge included a wreath laying at each of the cemetery’s memorials.