Remembering the Past and Looking to the Future

As you wind down from your plans for this long Memorial Day weekend, take some time today to be thankful and reflect upon the lives that have been lost along the way.  Our service men and women have fought for centuries to protect our values and freedoms, and many have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, during conflicts.  According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics estimates, there are nearly 22 million Veterans among our 316 million citizens.  However, more Veterans are dying every day –and many not on the battle field but back home on familiar soil –a place where they should feel safe, accepted, and honored.  As we remember and honor those who have died, keep in mind that there are thousands of Veterans across the country who’ve returned from service struggling to cope with normal, day-to-day tasks and living in our civilian world.

It’s not enough to lay a wreath on Memorial Day or to pay tribute to our veterans with speeches.  As many of you may know, our office has fought tirelessly for a Veterans Court in Scottsdale, and we believe that such a court will allow Veterans charged with misdemeanor offenses to not only receive the services they need but avoid overly excessive incarceration that may impede their assimilation back into civilian society.  The Phoenix Municipal Court provides a role model for all Veterans Courts and focuses primarily on rehabilitation for our heroes, as well as supporting them with mentors as they address their cases, from DUIs to domestic violence.  The goal of the Phoenix Veterans Court is to address the issues that brought the Veterans into the criminal justice system in the first place.

So today, pay tribute to our departed Armed Forces members in your own unique way.  My office will be attending the Scottsdale memorial service to listen to its civic leaders honor the fallen.  Today is not only about remembering; it is also a call to ACTION to fully honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Reach out to those living around you, lend an ear, and do what you can to let our Veterans know how much they are valued.  And maybe even set a goal for next Memorial Day to become more involved with supporting Veterans. If you do choose to honor their memories with a celebration, please remember to do so safely and responsibly.