On Floor of U.S. House, Spanberger Shares “Stories of Service” from Virginians, Honors Servicemembers, Veterans, & Military Families During Military Appreciation Month

For the Second Year in a Row, the Congresswoman Shared “Stories of Service” She Received from Virginians to Honor the Personal Sacrifices of Those Who Put on the Uniform

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today honored Veterans, servicemembers, and Virginia military families.

To recognize Military Appreciation Month, Spanberger launched a survey earlier this month to gather “Stories of Service” from Virginians with loved ones who are active-duty servicemembers or Veterans. For the second year in a row, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Congresswoman read some of the “Stories of Service” she received from Virginians detailing the service of heroes in their lives who answered the call.

Click here to watch her remarks, and a full transcript of her comments is below.

I rise today during Military Appreciation Month and ahead of Memorial Day to recognize some of the many Virginians who have contributed to Virginia’s proud legacy of military service — and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Earlier this month, I reached out to families across the Seventh District, asking them to share “Stories of Service” recognizing the unwavering courage and commitment of their loved ones who have answered the call to serve our country. I’m honored to work on behalf of so many military families and Veterans — and I’m grateful for the opportunity to stand here today to read some of the extraordinary stories I received.

Lisa Harms from Stafford County recognized her daughter, Second Lieutenant Sabrina Harms, who is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. A UVA alumna, granddaughter of World War II and Korean War Veterans, and the niece of Vietnam and Persian War Veterans, Sabrina is in her third year of medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and will graduate as a family medicine doctor next May to care for servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. Thank you for your devotion to our country and fellow servicemembers, Sabrina. And Lisa, you must be incredibly proud.

Bonnie, who lives in Stafford County, shared with me the story of her father, Jesse James Verling, a life-long Orange County resident. Mr. Verling never talked much of the details of his service in the Philippines and in the European Theater during World War II. However, following his passing, Bonnie opened his safe deposit box and discovered his military decorations — getting to understand more about her father’s brave and dedicated service on behalf of our country. Our nation owes an immense debt of gratitude to every one of our neighbors who put on the uniform. Thank you, Bonnie, for recognizing your father’s service and allowing me the opportunity to do so in the Congressional Record.

William Hosp from Prince William County shared his father’s story of service. William Brokaw Hosp Sr. served in the U.S. Army during World War II, having enlisted straight out of high school. After seeing combat during the Battle of the Bulge, he was transferred to Okinawa following Germany’s unconditional surrender. He ultimately served on both fronts of the war. His resolve, courage, and commitment to democracy are an inspiration — and I’m glad to have received his story and have the opportunity to recognize his service.

Stephen from Orange County recognized many members of his family who served to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans — his father and two uncles who served during World War II, his brother who served in Vietnam, and his brother who served stateside as a member of the detail at Fort Myer responsible for interring the honored dead at Arlington National Cemetery. Stephen wrote, quote, “As they say, freedom isn’t free, and we should all be thankful every day for those willing to pay the price.” Stephen, I’m grateful for your family’s sacrifices on behalf of our country.

As we head toward Memorial Day weekend, we remember the Virginians who bravely defended and died for our country — Virginians like Second Lieutenant Leonard M. Cowherd III. Leonard’s sister, Laura Salinas, wrote to me about her brother’s career in service. After growing up in Culpeper County, Leonard graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2003, he was deployed in early 2004, and he was killed in action in Iraq on May 16, 2004. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Laura wrote, quote, “20 years have passed but I remain grateful for the support and the love we still receive from many who knew Leonard in the community.” We will never forget the Virginians whose individual sacrifices allow us to enjoy the promises of freedom — and my heart is with Leonard’s family as they continue to hold his memory and spirit with them.

Every one of our neighbors who are serving or have served the United States of America in uniform and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms — we honor you.

This Memorial Day, I encourage all of my colleagues and all Americans across the country to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the brave servicemembers — our neighbors, friends, and loved ones — those who paid the heavy price of freedom as we remember those who never came home.

Virginians can click here to share their loved ones’ stories.


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