WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) authored the following letter to the Dothan Eagle honoring Alabama’s fallen heroes and their families for Memorial Day. In the letter, Senator Tuberville shares stories of Alabama’s Gold Star families, and encourages readers to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
In Recognition of our Military
U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville
May 30, 2022
In 1966, Private James Joshua Jr. of Gadsden, Alabama, left high school to become a United States Marine at the age of 18. He deployed, but never came home. His life was cut short when his company was attacked with mortars in Vietnam’s Quang Tri Province.
You may have never heard of Private Joshua, or know the names of the millions of other men and women who gave their lives for our country, but every May, we observe Memorial Day in honor of our fallen soldiers. The names of some of our heroes may not be widely known, but are forever intertwined in the fabric of America’s story. These were ordinary men and women who had extraordinary courage and patriotism, and ultimately lost their lives defending the freedoms we hold dear as a nation.
Many of Alabama’s sons and daughters are counted among these brave souls. The state of Alabama lost 2,500 soldiers during World War I, 5,114 soldiers during World War II, and hundreds of others in wars since. Growing up, we heard the Bible verse that ‘greater love has no man than laying down his life for his friend.’ But many of our service members didn’t give their lives for their “friends” – they gave their lives for millions of Americans they will never know, so that generations can enjoy the freedoms that our country affords.
When our office had the opportunity to speak with some of Alabama’s families who have lost family members to war, you could feel the agony they experienced from losing a loved one too soon. Like Teresa from Huntsville, whose father was declared Missing in Action during the Vietnam War when she was only eight years old. She shared stories of the many days and sleepless nights that she and her family spent hoping for his return, and the heartbreak of growing up knowing that he wouldn’t be there to teach her how to ride a bike, meet her high school boyfriends, celebrate her graduation, or walk her down the aisle at her wedding. She is one of six children whose special events were marked by their father’s absence.
Then there is Danny from Elba, whose son Jason was killed in Tallifar, Iraq, one night during a patrol when the enemy attacked his Humvee. Jason was a leader with
a deep loyalty to his country. His love for country drove him to join the U.S. Army, where he climbed the ranks to become a sergeant. Danny shared that his son answered the call to join our nation’s military because he felt there was a need for brave men and women to willingly step up and defend America at all costs. Now, Danny drives the truck that once belonged to his son to cope with his grief. For fathers like Danny, ordinary possessions become treasures that keep their loved ones close once they’ve passed.
For the Alabama families who know firsthand the high price of freedom, we honor your loved ones this Memorial Day. We know that for you, holidays, special occasions, and daily activities will never be the same. As we gather with friends and family this weekend, let us remember why we are able to gather freely. The cost of our freedom has been paid for by generations of brave men and women in our military who endured sleepless battlefields, tumultuous seas, and harsh deserts. Freedom is not free. Our servicemembers faced adversaries head-on to uphold our banner of liberty. Let us never forget the lives lost and the sacrifices made by the men and women who donned our nation’s uniform.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Senate Armed Services Committees. During the month of May, Senator Tuberville is honoring the sacrifices made by current and former service members as part of Military Appreciation Month. A special ‘thank you’ to the families of the fallen who graciously shared their stories with us.