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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Take Time to Remember Our Nation's POW/MIA

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear Friends,

Just a brief update before the weekend:

This coming Thursday, September 26th, members of the Capital Investment Committee will be at Isle City Hall at 3:00PM for a tour of the Malone Island Bridge, which is on a list of potential projects to be included in the bonding bill that will be considered next session.

I authored a bill last session that would have provided bonding funds to replace the bridge. The Malone Island Bridge is the only bridge to cross Lake Mille Lacs, and is in dire need of replacement, as it is structurally deficient.

I'm hopeful that the project will be included in the 2014 bonding bill, and will keep you updated on its progress next session.


I wanted to share with you a column I wrote in honor of POW/MIA Day, which is observed today. Please take time to remember our military's POW/MIA this weekend. Their sacrifice must never be forgotten.



Take Time to Remember Our Nation's POW/MIA

The third Friday of every September is a time to remember the faces of the prisoners of war (POW) and the names of those missing in action (MIA).

According to my research that total remains well over 150,000, the largest number resulting from World War II, but also many thousands from the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Just as important is the pledge of our nation’s leaders to account for every serviceman who did not come home.

Like me, you may know families who continue to wait for word of their loved ones. They are fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. The families remember every day, and we, too, must remember. We must stand by them with courage to recognize that their loved one answered American’s call to defend the freedom we enjoy today. Many of these families have suffered decades of pain not knowing with certainly the final fate of their loved ones.

Remembering is what POW/MIA day is for. And for a society that demands liberty as much as we do, we must not allow the sacrifices of these patriots to pass from our nations’ consciousness. America owes these brave men and women our eternal gratitude.

As Daniel Webster once noted more than 150 years ago: “God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.”

Just a week ago we remembered the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when our liberty was threatened. But despite the shattered lives and broken buildings, the American spirit did not waiver. The photo of the firefighters raising the American flag amid the rubble where the Twin Towers had stood is a scene I cannot forget. No words were necessary as they hoisted a banner of hope amid a sea of death and despair.

Or, remember the rescue workers at the Pentagon unfurling a large American flag next to the charred hole left by a hijacked airliner.

We are different today – a sadder and stronger, less innocent but more courageous nation. And we are more appreciative of life and for those who serve our country who are willing to risk their lives for a greater cause. However, whatever the tragedy, the pain never goes away for those who have lost family and friends.

Freedom is not free. Freedom comes with a price. On September 20 (Friday) we remember the POW/MIAs who fought to protect our freedom and lost theirs. At the same time, I pray for those engaged in today’s struggle to protect our freedom for future generations.

God bless their bravery.

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