Luján Statement on Memorial Day
Press Release Statement
Farmington, NM – Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement today in honor of Memorial Day and the men and women who died while serving in the United States Military. Luján will celebrate Memorial Day with veterans at the Shiprock Cemetery and the Farmington Vietnam Memorial Park.
“New Mexicans share a long and proud tradition of service in our Armed Forces and bravely answering the call of duty when our country needs them most. We are honored to have veterans who put their country first and made a commitment to protect the values of freedom and liberty that we hold dear. Today in communities across New Mexico and across the country we gather to reflect, to share stories of family, friends, and neighbors – heroes who have left an impression on our hearts and souls. I was taught that it’s important to learn these stories and share these stories so that our heroes are honored and are never forgotten.
“Like so many young men of his generation, my grandfather Luis Luján served our great nation in World War II. He recounted one encounter in Germany on Christmas day in 1944. There was snow on the ground and it was terribly cold. At night, they dug into that frozen ground to make their foxholes. To keep from freezing they would light a single candle and huddle closely to the little warmth that flame shared with them. While on the front lines an army tank was hit by enemy fire, causing the tank to burst into flames. Luis went courageously to the assistance of those trapped in the tank and administered first aid and helped them to a sheltered area while taking enemy fire.
“Luis was awarded the Bronze Start for heroic achievement against the enemy. So many of us have heard similar stories of courage from family, friends, and neighbors who served. We must learn them and share them to keep that flame burning.
“Grandpa Luis fought bravely, like all of his brothers in arms, and he was so fortunate to return home to the warm embrace of a loving family that missed him dearly. But sadly, so many brave soldiers were lost on the field of battle. Today we remember them. We remember those missing in action. We remember the prisoners of war. Today we remember these individuals and all the men and women throughout our history, who in conflicts near and far have protected this nation with everything they had, making the ultimate sacrifice. While we might not know all the stories of heroism that have been displayed, we know that we owe each individual our deepest gratitude and respect.
“To all our members of the Armed Forces who have died in service to our country, to all the veterans, to all our military families, and to all those who serve this very day – thank you and may God bless each and every one of you and keep you safe.”