Vol. 53, No. 5

In this edition

This edition of the Forum is a small tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line in defense of our freedom, and thanking those heroes this Veterans Day.

Let History Guide Us on Veterans Day

The price of freedom is never free. That is the lesson today’s Veterans continue to teach us.

Service, Sacrifice, and a Sacred Duty

Veterans Day is our national holiday to honor the sacrifice of our veterans and to celebrate their bravery and skill. 

“I’ll Never Forget My Time in Military Service.”

The VA should absolutely be held accountable for how they help care for our veterans, and I’m continuing to press them on that issue.

More Than a Day of Remembrance, Veterans Day is a Call to Action.

I am humbled daily by the sacrifice that countless men, women, and families endure on behalf of a grateful nation.

“It Takes a Special Person to Take Up Arms in Defense of Our Country.”

As a Marine, I swore to always remain faithful to those serving by my side.

“We Will Always Need Defenders, and We Will Always Protect Them.”

I am a firm believer that we must honor the commitments we’ve made to our veterans – those who place themselves in harm’s way to defend our values and way of life.

“Their Willingness to Protect this Country Shall Never be Forgotten.”

Their willingness to protect this country shall never be forgotten, and I want our Veterans to know their service and patriotism is very much appreciated.

“Service is Always Greater than Self.”

Outside of becoming a father and grandfather, having the unique opportunity to lead Marines in the fight has always been the proudest moment in my life.

“Never Forget”

Let’s get back to the things that defined America for generations: love of country, patriotism, optimism, and a deep appreciation of our veterans of past and present.

“We must Ensure Our Veterans Know that They are Not Alone.”

As we evaluate how best to help our veterans in the 21st century, I believe community is key.

“Every Service Member is United in Their Choice to Put Service Before Self.”

I became a bomb technician because I wanted to save lives and serve a cause greater than myself.

“We will Remain Always Faithful.”

Semper Fidelis is not just a slogan or creed; it is a way of life that only those who have earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor can fully understand.

“It is Essential that We Take Care of Those Who Took Care of Us.”

Our country has sent generations of heroes to defend our freedom. It is essential that we take care of those who took care of us.

“Be Grateful for the Many Sacrifices that Keep Us Free.”

It is only with age that I have come to realize and truly understand the significance of the sacrifices that veterans made.

“To All of Our Nation’s Veterans, We Thank You”

My experience in uniform has taught me that focusing on a mission makes it harder to be distracted by other things.

“Let Us Never Forget Those Who Willingly Step Forward to Shoulder the Duty.”

We each benefit from the sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line to defend the freedom, peace, and prosperity we enjoy as a country.

“America Has Been a Shining Example of Freedom Because of Those Who Serve Her in Uniform.”

America has been a shining example of freedom because of those who serve her in uniform. To my fellow veterans, thank you and God bless you and your families!

“Let Us Never Forget Those Who Willingly Step Forward to Shoulder the Duty.”

For some, it’s a three-day weekend — an excuse to take that trip, to go see family, or simply to enjoy a long weekend. For some, it’s a reminder to put out an American flag and thank the veteran that they see in the checkout line at the grocery story.

For others, it’s personal. It’s the memory of that jittery feeling of holding up your homemade sign, waiting for mom or dad, husband or wife, son or daughter, to come running towards you out of a sea of uniforms. It’s the deep breath you took when your feet touched United States’ soil and, for the first time in many months, you were not worrying about who was trying to destroy you. You felt safe. For me, it’s the faces and names of those I served with and all those that we served. It’s the Marine praying his rosary as we took his friend into the operating room. The Iraqi interpreters who served alongside us so faithfully. My fellow caregivers.  I think of them often – what are they all doing now? They are what Veterans Day means to me.

Even if you did not serve, or have a family member who served, Veterans Day is personal for each of us as citizens of the United States of America. Daily, we each benefit from the sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line to defend the freedom, peace, and prosperity we enjoy as a country. Think about what they have kept the United States from becoming or enduring: occupations, invasions, dictatorships, terror attacks. It’s almost mind boggling to consider how history could have been rewritten without their presence, standing in the gap. Yet in our Armed Forces, Americans don’t just wear the uniform for our nation, Americans also fight for each other. We fight for our fellow soldiers and also, in a very tangible way, for each and every citizen of the United States of America, so that you would be able to focus on what you can do, not always what you can’t do.

We each benefit from the sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line to defend the freedom, peace, and prosperity we enjoy as a country.

For so many mothers and fathers around the world, that is not their reality. The stability, liberty, and peace we enjoy daily is a unique gift, one that is fought for every day. As President Ronald Reagan once said, “If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay the price.”

Major Brad Wenstrup in Iraq in 2005.

Let us never forget those who willingly step forward to shoulder the duty and privilege of paying that price. Today, amidst the clamor of our busy schedules, our 24-hour news cycle, and our heated politics, I’d like our country to take a collective pause. I’d like for each of us to stop, look up to the sun and sky above us, and count the many freedoms and rights we are able to exercise without thinking every single day. Remember to feel deep gratitude for the many gifts we enjoy, simply because of the privilege of being citizens of this great country and the sacrifices that fellow Americans have made on our behalf.

Today is personal. We each have the individual responsibility to steward well what we have been given. Today and every day, we have a responsibility to honor those who were willing to pay the price, as high as it may be.

Brad Wenstrup represents Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. Brad has served in the U.S. Army Reserve since 1998, currently holding the rank of colonel. In 2005-06, he served a tour in Iraq as a combat surgeon, and was awarded a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge for his service. In 2018, Colonel Wenstrup was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for heroism.