On Thursday the Michigan Senate honored the state’s fallen soldiers in the 22nd Annual Senate Memorial Day Service organized by Sen. Patrick Colbeck.
“It was a privilege and a distinct honor to join my colleagues today in honoring the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Sen. Colbeck, R-Canton. “And those who give their lives in defense of our freedoms leave behind family members who will forever be touched by their loss. It was truly humbling to have the opportunity to welcome these families to Lansing and express our gratitude.”
The service honored the sacrifices of all of Michigan’s fallen soldiers but highlighted the sacrifices of two U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives within the past year: Master Sgt. Gregory T. Kuhse of the U.S. Air Force, and Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason P. May of the U.S. Navy. These soldiers were represented by their Gold Star Mothers on the Senate floor. They were joined in the Senate gallery on this solemn occasion by Gold Star family members from across the state.
The keynote speaker for the event was a recent inductee to the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame and former World War II B-17 pilot, Dr. John A. Clark, who served in the 100th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, where he completed 32 missions over Germany during 1944-45.
Two other guests present at the service were also given special recognition: Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was held hostage in Iran from August 2011 until January 2016, and Wilton S. “Butch” Terry, Petty Officer 1st Class and recipient of the 2015 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year Award.
In his closing remarks for the ceremony, Sen. Colbeck stated, “This weekend we will extend the solemn observance of Memorial Day beyond the confines of the Senate floor into the homes, churches, parades, and cemeteries throughout our great state of Michigan. Memorial Day is a day for each of us who have been blessed through these sacrifices to dedicate some small measure of our time to honor our fallen heroes.
“There is no greater love than to lay one’s life down on behalf of a friend. Whether we know them personally or not, our freedom is a tribute to many such friends throughout the history of this great nation. We thank God for such friends and humbly ask that we honor their sacrifices through the lives that we lead.”
The Michigan Senate encourages all Michigan residents to honor the sacrifices of our service personnel and their families by attending Memorial Day parades, visiting veteran posts to say thank you, or honoring the final resting places of our heroes with American flags.