Words are simply inadequate to express both regret and gratitude for the men and women who have died in service to their country. The chasm left in the lives of their families and those of who survived by the grace of God is simply too cavernous to ever fill.

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once opined, "...we have enjoyed privileges such as freedom for a long time in this nation, and we should never forget that men and women have died to win it."

This has been an especially tough year in Georgia. We have lost individuals in conflicts overseas, in training accidents, and too many others to the demons that sometimes plague us when we return home - but our brothers and sisters in arms do not.

We also welcome home CPL Luther H. Story, a Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, whose remains were finally identified. CPL Story is a native of Buena Vista and will be returning home to Georgia at the Andersonville National Cemetery later today.

Memorial Day is a somber occasion where every American should reflect on the high cost of our freedom and the tremendous expense born by our military. May we never forget.

However, to paraphrase General George Patton, our focus should not be on mourning those who died but in thanking God that they lived.

Whatever your spiritual beliefs, I personally thank God they lived, because without their sacrifice, our state and our nation would not enjoy the freedom we too often take for granted.

On this Memorial Day and every day, let us remember and honor our fallen brothers and sisters.   

- Patricia Ross, Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Service