A Memorial Day Message from the DPO Veterans Caucus

May 27, 2024

Today we pay tribute to members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Space Force, and National Guard who died while serving our country. Many of our fallen military died from their wounds in combat and others died as a result of their service, or from cancers and diseases that resulted from exposure to toxic chemicals and burn pits, and those who suffered or are suffering from invisible wounds like PTSD, depression, traumatic brain injuries, and suicide.
The combat injuries and deaths, the invisible wounds many of us carry are the result of service to our country. Today is the day we need to remember and honor those we’ve lost and those who served at such a great cost to themselves and to their families. Today we honor our Gold Star families who paid the price and continue to pay daily because their loved one is no longer here.
President Biden said it perfectly:
“Every year, as a nation, we undertake this rite of remembrance, for we must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy. We must never forget the lives these flags, flowers, and marble markers represent: a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a sister, a spouse, a friend. An American.”
Every year, we remember. And every year, it never gets easier.
As a retired Air Force member, I respectfully ask that you remember Senior Airman (SrA) Roger Fortson who died May 3, 2024. The circumstances surrounding his death are horrifying and outrageous. He was smart, well respected, and had a promising career as an AC-130 crewman with the 4th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Many of us in the Air Force are mourning the loss of this young Black man whose promising future was cut short.
On behalf of the Democratic Party of Oregon’s Veterans Caucus, I ask that you take a moment today and join us in remembering and honoring those who died while serving their country. If you know a Gold Star family member, please reach out to them today.
Wishing all of you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.
Cindy Smith,
Chair, DPO Veterans Caucus
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