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Honoring Our Heroes

Time to Reflect this Memorial Day

SOURCE: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

Army soldiers with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as "The Old Guard," place flags on each grave at Arlington National Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day.

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This Memorial Day, the Center for American Progress honors our nation’s service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. On Monday, we pause to reflect on the service of these brave men and women who left their homes and their families, some never to return, in order to protect their country and advance the pursuit of greater security and prosperity the world over.

Last week, the Defense Department confirmed the 1,000th service member killed while serving in Afghanistan. As we observe this grim milestone in Afghanistan, we are also humbled by the remembrance of the 4,400 men and women who have fallen in operations in Iraq. As large-scale U.S. military involvement in that country begins winding down later this year, and as record numbers of combat troops deploy to Afghanistan, Americans are united across class, gender, race, and politics by their sincere wish for the swift and safe return of our men and women in uniform.

Our active duty and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen honor their fallen comrades’ legacies by continuing to serve their country both domestically and internationally in many capacitates. Today, coast guardsmen are responding on sea to the largest oil spill in our nation’s history, while National Guard troops are assisting in the cleanup efforts on land. More reserve forces still are in the process of being deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border, and active and reserve forces continue to serve with distinction in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

For their sacrifice, these men and women deserve more than our respect; they deserve to be supported by programs and policies that improve their quality of life both during and after service. Below is a list of organizations dedicated to helping the men and women of our armed forces and their families.

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