Each of us has a story. This Memorial Day explore the stories that have made you and your family who you are today.
Memorial Day, first known as Decoration Day, was first enacted as a tribute to Union soldiers of the Civil War and has since expanded to honor Americans who have died in all wars. As the state with the largest percentage of its residents per capita in the military, West Virginia men and women have many stories to share this Memorial Day. I encourage the younger generation to seek out their elders' stories. Perhaps these can be told first hand, through journals of loved one's passed, or family photo albums. When we know our past, we can focus on our future. Our country's past is filled with individual stories of bravery and sacrifice. Those tales reside in the minds and hearts of West Virginians. In today's world, such stories we thought were long past continue to be experienced by another generation.
With unknown domestic and foreign threats facing America today, our military has become increasingly important in securing our freedom and our way of life. Whether active, reserve or National Guard, our military members have given of themselves and their families for the greater good of our state and our country. Earlier this month the First Lady launched "Serve West Virginia Military Families: Serving Those Who Serve Us". This initiative compliments a national movement led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. The goal of both projects is to show our appreciation to our military members and their families through various volunteer activities each and every day of our lives. By taking the time to assist a military family, we expand our understanding of the sacrifices that have been made for us. It is my hope that as Memorial Day weekend progresses, all West Virginians reflect on the blessings we have been given thanks to the men and women in uniform and their families.
Across West Virginia friends and families will gather to celebrate the national holiday this weekend. I encourage each of you to reach beyond the traditional gathering of food, fellowship and summertime fun. It is my hope that all West Virginians use this opportunity to learn more about one another, your familial and individual pasts that have made this country what it is. There will be some stories that may bring tears; and there will be others that will leave you breathless; while other stories will be told with laughter and good humor. Whatever the case, know that by the simple act of asking friends and family to share their stories you are telling them how much you care and that their life experience has meaning. It is my hope that once you hear these fascinating stories you will share them with others so they too will come to know and understand why honoring our military is not just another holiday.
This Memorial Day explore the past; strive to understand our present way of life so we may live a better future. I am truly grateful for the men and women who bear arms to defend our country. I hope you will join me in showing your support, in whatever way you choose, this Memorial Day.