WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in recognition of Memorial Day 2019, which falls on Monday, May 27. The full remarks entered into the Congressional Record may be downloaded here.
“On this Memorial Day, I join the nation in recognizing the brave men and women in uniform who sacrificed everything for our country. Because of their incredible courage, we are able to speak, write, worship, vote and live the way we choose − freedoms that are too often taken for granted. The values that define our great nation came at the high price of American lives, and we are forever indebted to their service.
“I think of the sacrifices made by my fellow Marylanders, in wars of both past and present. During the Revolutionary War, 400 Marylanders courageously fought against the British at the Battle of Brooklyn, despite being heavily outnumbered. Of these 400 Marylanders, nearly 260 were captured or killed.
“I remember the sacrifice of Baltimore native Sergeant Damion G. Campbell. Sergeant Campbell, 23, was an army medic serving in Afghanistan and was killed in action on August 26, 2005 when a bomb exploded near his vehicle during a patrol in the Khayr Kot district. Coming from a long line of military servicemen, Sergeant Campbell long dreamed of serving to carry on his family legacy. Sergeant Campbell is remembered by his friends and family as being a passionate and joyful person who reiterated on many occasions his love for the U.S. military and his excitement for joining the ranks and serving his country. We remember him today for his ultimate sacrifice and thank him for his service and passion for America.
“We must also take this day to remind ourselves that conflict and instability are still harsh realities that plague the Middle East to this day. Our nation has now been involved in an almost two-decade war with Afghanistan, where almost 2500 U.S. members have given their lives, and over 20,000 have been wounded. This generational war must be brought to an honorable and effective end that is only possible through strong diplomatic negotiations and carefully planned efforts. The United States government must make sustained efforts to not only bring peace to the region, but guide the Afghan government to a more capable and sustainable rule of law. By striving for peace, we are able to honor those who gave their lives for it.
“William Bladen of College Park, Maryland, was a 19-year-old paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, who parachuted into Normandy, France during the D-Day invasion 75 years ago. Mr. Bladen once remarked, “I hope people remember that a lot of men gave their lives for others.” I share that sentiment: Freedom isn’t free.
“This weekend, I will pray for the families in Maryland and across the United States who have lost loved ones defending our freedom. I will also pray for the safe return of those currently serving.”