Memorial Day is upon us, and with it come some of my favorite American traditions. Our favorite baseball teams are taking the diamonds. We open our homes to friends and family for backyard barbecues, graduation parties, and simple celebrations of summer holidays. Our neighborhoods will enjoy the sounds of marching bands and fire engines passing by in patriotic parades. These are good days.
It is important during these moments though, to take time to remember why we have the freedom to gather and celebrate in these ways. My daughters are growing older, and soon they will each understand that there is much more to this particular holiday than a day off and hamburgers on the grill. Memorial Day, as they will come to know, is a day when a moment of solemnity is appropriate. Unlike other patriotic holidays, it is the one set aside to remember our fallen heroes -- those who have paid the last full measure of sacrifice for our Nation and its Constitution.
As I share the importance of honoring this sacrifice with my daughters, I also remind them that several millions of veterans have returned from our nations wars over its history. Many of those veterans return to regular life, go unnoticed, and eventually are laid to rest with full military honors they have earned. Some though, as I learned four years ago, pass on from this life with no next of kin to identify them and render appropriate honor. I learned the story of a group, the Missing in America Project, that was trying to correct this shortcoming. I'm proud to say that this past December, Congressman Steve Stivers, Senator Rob Portman, and I were able to assist this effort by working to pass the Missing in America Act. This measure was included in the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans Benefits Act and was signed into law in January of this year.
This law directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to assist groups such as the Missing in America Project, funeral home directors, and veterans service organizations to identify and lay to rest those patriots whose remains have gone unclaimed. I am proud that after many years of work on this legislation, we were finally able to ensure all our military men and women receive the final respect of a dignified burial. I am thankful that so many Ohioans joined in the effort to pass this important bill.
We truly are a blessed nation. President Ronald Reagan often referred to our nation as "the shining city on a hill." This holds true today, as our freedoms continue to make us the most prosperous, the most charitable, and the strongest the world has ever seen. This Memorial Day, I share with you my thanks for those who gave their very lives to make this nation a reality and to sustain it through its darkest times. This year, I also share with you my pride that Ohio led the way to honor our heroes and demonstrate our national commitment to all veterans. I ask you to please join me this weekend in thanking those patriots who are still with us, and in celebrating the memories of those countless Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who are at rest today.
U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi represents Ohio's 12th Congressional District. The 12th Congressional District is made up of Delaware, Licking, and Morrow Counties and portions of Franklin, Licking, Marion, Muskingum, and Richland Counties.