Most people know that Memorial Day is a federal holiday, the last Monday
in May, and they’re happy to get a day off work. While it’s great to get
a day off, remember and recognize its true importance – our freedom
comes at the highest of prices.
Day is a day to remember America’s heroes, the men and women who died in
defense of our freedom and safety. It’s a day rooted in the Civil War
when in 1868, Union veterans founded what was then known as
– a day to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Over time,
Union and Confederate holiday traditions merged, and in 1971, Memorial
Day became a federal holiday, extending the honor to all Americans who
died while in military service.
All gave some, and some gave all. We honor them on Memorial Day
by remembering their sacrifice.
Millions of American men and women have worn our Nation's uniform, many
giving their lives in order to preserve our freedom. They have served
during peacetime and have fought in numerous wars including World War I
and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the War on Terror.
If you know a soldier or a veteran, hug them; when you see a soldier,
thank them; and most of all, take a moment this Memorial Day to remember
our country’s best who gave their lives in defense our freedoms and
ideals. Also, please remember that Vietnam vets deserve a special thanks
because they never received the recognition they deserved upon their
Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting many of
Wisconsin's outstanding veterans.
My family has a proud history of military service. My dad, Chuck Lasee,
was in the Marines and also served many years in the Marine Reserve.
While he was serving, I was born at Camp Pendleton Marine Base. My
uncle, Ken “Beak” Lasee served 2 combat tours in Vietnam in the
Marines. My grandfather, Rube Lasee, drove a tank in the Army in WWII. I
understand the great personal sacrifice and honor that accompanies
military service. It is a high calling which my family answered over
multiple generations. I have the utmost respect for veterans and their
families and I have a special place in my heart for the Marines.
Beyond my close family connection to Marines, I have on my senate staff
a Marine veteran and a Navy veteran. Both men are of high character with
an outstanding work ethic and they serve my office and my constituents
My family and families like mine are safe because American soldiers gave
lives to defend us. We will remember and honor their selflessness on
Often I write about politics and what I believe will carry our state and
country forward towards a better future, yet Memorial Day outstrips and
outshines politics and political differences. It’s a reminder that
freedom isn't free. It comes at a price, a heavy price, and we shouldn’t
take it for granted.
Our Founding Fathers and many others along the way recognized the
fragility of freedom and did their best to lay the foundation for the
freest country in the world. Our soldiers have fought and died to
protect this ideal for us at home and abroad. We must also do our part
to protect against its erosion so that their sacrifices retain their
This Monday, remember what it is that our heroic men and women died to
protect. Remember what makes our country great. And remember that our
current military members and veterans deserve our utmost gratitude.
You may also wish to visit the VFW,
Department of Veterans Affairs,
Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to
learn more about our nation’s surviving veterans, how they are involved
today in a variety of programs that help our communities, and where
veterans and their families can go to find a wide-range of assistance