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July 4th: Remembering and honor heroes

It is once again almost the 4th of July — a time to celebrate our nation’s independence and the rights we enjoy as Americans.

There are always parades to attend, picnics to enjoy and fireworks to watch, but Independence Day also should be observed as a solemn occasion for our country.

As we celebrate the freedoms our founding fathers won for us, we must always keep in mind that there are many who have and who are still paying the price to preserve it.

We are reminded of the steep price of freedom in the faces of our veterans who fought for us in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the ongoing War on Terror.

Many of their fellow soldiers, and the soldiers who preceded them in earlier conflicts, made the ultimate sacrifice. Others have paid the price by suffering physical and mental disabilities as a result of their time in combat.

There are countless Gold Star families who wonder how their lives could have been if they had not lost their loved ones to war. Our country has long been blessed with great men and women who served honorably in the armed forces.

That legacy lives on with the soldiers of today who are putting their lives on the line and sacrificing their personal comfort to stand up for the United States of America at home and overseas.

Today, we remember that there are those serving our county who won’t be home to celebrate the 4th of July with their families, who have and will continue to miss kids’ birthdays and school events or mom and dad’s anniversary.

We must always honor and remember those who have sacrificed in the past, and we must rededicate ourselves to doing what we can to support those who are serving presently.

The 17th Ohio Senate District is home to many brave men and women who have volunteered to serve in the military.

One of them is 46-year-old Doug Reed. Doug is the City of Jackson’s fire chief, a husband, and father of seven children. He was a recruiter for the National Guard and volunteered to go to Afghanistan.

While serving in Afghanistan, Doug took on enemy fire and suffered critical injuries to his face. He is making his recovery in San Antonio, Texas.

Doug and his family are strong people, but perhaps if you do not know anyone personally who is serving in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the U.S. military, you can support them with your thoughts and prayers.

This is just one story of many, and regardless of whether we know the affected families or not, we should all band together to show our gratitude, pray for their safe return and be vigilant in ensuring our veterans receive the care and resources they need to move on with their lives.

It is part of being respectful and an important part of being an American.

Another way to honor this service is for each of us to do our part to be responsible citizens. That means being educated about the limited role of government and exercising our right to vote. Being a good American requires asking hard questions about what is going on in your community, state and nation. We, as citizens, have to take charge of our own destinies. Government can be used as a tool to move forward good ideas, but in the end, it is the individual and collective freedoms that we have as Americans that will keep our country great. Our soldiers can protect them, but is up to each one of us to seize the freedoms that are rightfully ours.

On behalf of the entire Carey family, we wish you a very happy Fourth of July!

John A. Carey is a member of the Ohio Senate and represents the 17th District. He can be reached at Ohio Senate, Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio 43215 or by phone at (614) 466-8156.