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RALEIGH, NC – Cal Cunningham, U.S. Senate candidate and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, issued the following statement on Memorial Day.
“North Carolina is home to some of our nation’s premier military installations, such as Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson, and Fort Bragg, among others. Our state has a strong National Guard and Reserve presence – and elite units that are prepared to move on short notice.
“It is no wonder that North Carolina is often first to the fight when our country calls.
“National defense is one of the top drivers of our state’s economy, responsible for countless jobs. And hundreds of thousands of service members make North Carolina home after taking off the uniform. We find military families in every city and town, from Murphy to Manteo.
“In short, military service – and recognizing those who wear our nation’s uniform – is part of North Carolina’s DNA.
“As we pause to honor this Memorial Day, join me in thinking about all of those who have given their lives in military service – and the many North Carolinians, who in answering the call to serve also gave their ‘last full measure of devotion’ for our country and our freedom.
“As we honor the fallen today, I’ll especially be thinking of a family member, SPC4 Jay Cunningham (1st Cavalry Division, Vietnam, February 14, 1967), and a childhood friend, SO1 Josh Harris (NSWDG, Afghanistan, August 30, 2008). Our nation is stronger for their service. Their loss casts shadows across our lives.
“Let us resolve to have leadership in this country – confident enough to exercise restraint and wise enough to wield power in a way that is worthy of the sacrifices we call our men and women in uniform to make in our most urgent hours of need.
“Most years, my kids and I join thousands of others at the NC Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony – to ride in Thomasville’s parade, eat hot dogs at Cushwa Stadium and cheer as the Golden Knights parachute in. While a somber occasion, like so many Americans, we also enjoy this unofficial start to summer.
“This year’s Memorial Day is going to be a little different. In the midst of this pandemic, we’ll be honoring Memorial Day together, but with appropriate social distance. And with a different kind of national fight occurring around us, we’ll also be honoring another kind of service member – the first responders and public health professionals we have lost to the fight against COVID-19. North Carolina is making a tremendous contribution to this fight, as well. Let us give them a special place in our prayers today.
“Join me today, with a deep and abiding sense of patriotism, as we honor all those who we have lost in service. That’s at the heart of what this day is about. God bless their memories, and God bless our country.”