Memorial Day in Rio Rancho
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich presents a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to Josie Valdez, the sister of Navy Hospitalman Third Class, Phil I. Valdez, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1967 at the age of 21, May 28, 2018.
Yesterday, I joined community members in Rio Rancho to commemorate Memorial Day. I am always moved by how many ordinary New Mexicans made and continue to make extraordinary sacrifices for our nation--from the Navajo Code Talkers and Bataan Death Marchers, to Korean and Vietnam War GI's, to men and women serving today in missions in New Mexico's military bases and all around the globe.
While Memorial Day is a day foremost meant to remember those lost to protect our nation, I strongly believe we must also honor the families they left behind, and our service members and veterans who fought alongside them. During the ceremony, it was an honor to recognize and present American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol to two New Mexico Gold Star Families-the mother of Marine Lance Corporal Christopher Adlesperger, from Albuquerque, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 20, and the siblings of Navy Hospitalman Third Class Phil I. Valdez., from Dixon, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1967 at the age of 21.
After the ceremony at the Rio Rancho Veterans Memorial, I joined with veterans and their families at the American Legion Post 118. We discussed legislation I just voted to pass in the Senate to improve and strengthen the VA health care system. We must keep our promises to our veterans and their families so they receive the recognition and benefits they earned. It was also a pleasure to eat lunch with members of the Enchanted Hills Young Marines Color Guard.
This Memorial Day hit home perhaps more than others in the past for my family. We're all remembering my dad, who we lost earlier this year. His service in the United States Navy shaped who he was and was instrumental in making me who I am today. To all of you who served, whose families served, and especially to those of you who lost family members and friends, please know that we are grateful for your sacrifice.
United States Senator