Memorial Day is a time to honor our soldiers and remember those who have fallen. This day also comes at the end of National Military Appreciation Month, an appropriate occasion to reflect on national unity and lend our support to those in uniform. Although some have tried to paint a picture of the "one percent" over the last several months, there is a real one percent prepared to protect us all: the United States Armed Forces.
Throughout our country's history, the men and women in our military have fiercely defended the homeland and our freedoms. As President Lincoln put it, many have given "the last full measure of devotion." As a former Army Ranger and eleven-year veteran, I pay tribute to the fallen and recognize their sacrifice.
We must also recognize the service of our veterans and those currently serving. They have made the United States stronger and safer, and they have done it as only a small fraction of Americans. Of the estimated 313.6 million Americans living today, about seven percent are veterans. Current military personnel make up about one percent of our country's population, with 1.45 million on active duty and 1.08 million on reserve responsible for protecting 100 percent of Americans.
We all owe the men and women of our armed forces the best possible support structure at home. My website has a "Show Your Support" page that contains resources you can use to give back to the men and women who protect our freedom.
Americans Supporting Americans (ASA) is another organization that offers locally focused support to our troops. ASA encourages communities across the country to "adopt" military units and provide care packages for service members. A number of cities in the Fourth District have joined this program including Covington, Fort Mitchell, Florence and Erlanger. You can learn more about their activities and the larger efforts of ASA by visiting the group's website at http://www.asa-usa.org.
Additionally, the National Military Appreciation Month's website has a checklist of a dozen ways to support our armed forces. Spending time with a veteran, sending a soldier an email or a letter through the A Million Thanks program, or simply thanking a veteran and our uniformed men and women face-to-face are all simple ways to express gratitude and respect.
Although May is designated as the official month to honor the military, and Memorial Day is the official day to remember the fallen, we should take time to thank them year-round.
At the end of the day, we have the ability to live freely, express our views, and go to bed free of fear because of the men and women who volunteer to stand in harm's way. Please join me in saluting and supporting those who serve and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.