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Johnson: Put veterans first
Hank Johnson Official

Today, many in our nation feel divided, angry and uncertain.

But this Memorial Day weekend it’s important to remember that soldiers are not divided between Democrats and Republicans or liberals and conservatives — soldiers are American, as we are all Americans.

They put their country before themselves and if necessary give their lives in the name of our freedom.

Since the Revolutionary War, about 1.2 million American soldiers have died in warfare. The ripple effect of these tragedies is even larger when you consider all the husbands, wives, children, and families that were left behind in the wake of each loss.

This weekend, I want to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and reach out my hand to the millions of people who sent a loved one overseas, never to see them again. The toll of war is not contained to individual soldiers — we have countless Gold Star families who deserve recognition and our thanks today as well.

When soldiers die in battle we, as fellow Americans, can honor their sacrifice by speaking up for their families and protecting those they left behind.

One meaningful way we can accomplish this is to ensure spouses, children, and the next of kin of fallen soldiers receive the benefits that their loved one earned through service to our country.

The Gold Star Family Support and Installation Act of 2017 would allow families of service members to maintain access to military installations so they can receive support and have access to services if their loved ones pass during active duty. I can think of no better way as a legislator to celebrate our heroes, than to advocate for this bill over this holiday weekend.

Earlier this month, Georgians were reminded of the danger our service men and women face every day when a cargo plane crashed near Savannah, killing nine crew members. Today, I want to remember these brave Americans and honor their memory.

On this holiday, I encourage those in Georgia’s 4th Congressional district to reach out to a neighbor, colleague, or friend and remind them that this weekend is dedicated to the memory of the sons and daughters our nation has lost, and remember that countless people are still suffering with this grief.

Each of us should take heart in the legacy of courage our soldiers have left behind and take pride in the fact we live in a country that has earned such respect from her citizens.


This weekend, as we gather together with our communities to enjoy the warm (and soggy) weather, I urge every citizen to remember that America is more than divisive tweets, heated arguments, and discordant discourse.

America is an idea that thousands have found worthy enough to sacrifice their lives for, and it transcends the cacophony of anger that has permeated our national discourse of late.

Today, I am proud to be an American, and I am proud to celebrate our country and our soldiers.

Congressman Hank Johnson represents the Fourth Congressional District that includes parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton Counties and all of Rockdale County. Rep. Johnson serves on the Transportation & Infrastructure and Judiciary Committees. He is the top Democrat on the Judiciary subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (IP).