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Weekly Column - Our Freedom, An Epic Journey

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As we go about our daily routines, we often take for granted our many blessings as Americans. It's easy to forget that some of the freedoms we enjoy and have even come to expect are mere dreams in many other parts of the world. It is also easy to forget how those freedoms were won, and how they are defended today.

They were born from struggle and sacrifice--some long forgotten, and some painfully seared into memory. Tales of intrepid servicemembers who answered the call of duty go far back before the birth of our nation. And every generation since then has written its own chapter in the long history of America's hard-fought freedoms.

I recently had the honor of meeting with 135 Nebraskans who served in the Korean War. These American heroes were part of an honor flight that brings veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit landmarks memorializing their work to protect our freedom. I stood with them at the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall, and heard half-century-old tales of bravery and valor. It was a privilege to shake the hands of these men, who volunteered to put their lives on the line for our country.

They served and sacrificed in a different time and place than our younger generation of Americans deployed around the world today. But no matter the era or engagement, stories of their service bond our veterans--call it a fraternity of the brave.

Throughout our history, our veterans built and secured our way of life, story by story. Each account is unique, involving somebody's son or daughter; mother or father. Some are of fearless fighters who charged to victory. Some are of fallen comrades who paid the ultimate price for our country. And some are of families separated by a cause greater than self. They all depict the price of freedom, and they are all a part of our history that deserves to be told.

One great way to ensure this history can be appreciated by future generations is the Veterans History Project, an effort to record our veterans' stories of service. More than 146,000 veterans live in Nebraska--all with a story to tell, so I am proud to partner with the project and help preserve these valuable pieces of our American history. If you would like to help record a part of history, or if you are a veteran with a story to share, my office is ready to assist. You can go to my website, www.johanns.senate.gov, and click on the Veterans History Project button for more information and to see examples. It's important to preserve these windows into our history while we can.

This Veterans Day, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and consider the many sacrifices of our military men and women who made them possible. And be sure to join me in thanking our veterans for their service.


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