Assemblyman Santabarbara: Recognize the Important Sacrifices of Our Heroes This Memorial Day

With the excitement of a long weekend, the hope of good weather and gatherings with family and friends, it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Memorial Day. This year, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect and recognize those who have sacrificed so much to secure our freedom.

Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1866, in Waterloo, New York. Loved ones and community members gathered to celebrate and honor the sacrifices so many have made to protect our nation. Today, Memorial Day remains much the same. The community comes together in the spirit of commemoration, holding events and taking the time to show gratitude to those who put their lives on the line to defend this great country.

Many of those who we will celebrate this year are still hard at work, risking their lives to ensure our safety. As of April, 33,500 American troops remain stationed in Afghanistan.1 Sadly, we have lost more than 2,000 soldiers who served there.2 This reality reminds us that we should be doing everything we can to ensure that veterans and their families continue to get the support they need. The bravery shown by our servicemen and servicewomen is remarkable. Each one deserves our utmost gratitude and respect.

This Memorial Day, let’s give these men and women the recognition they truly deserve. By honoring and preserving the memory of those who have been lost in action and continuing to support our troops and their families, while at home and abroad, we can properly thank those who have sacrificed so much for all of us.

Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation. On May 22, I will be walking in the Rotterdam Memorial Day parade at 6:30 p.m. In Amsterdam, I will be joining the American Legion Post 701 in placing flags at the graves of veterans at St. Mary's Cemetery at 9 a.m. on May 23. I will also be participating in the Town of Florida’s Memorial Day ceremony at 7 p.m. on May 25. Finally, on May 26, I will be at Veterans’ Park in Schenectady at 11 a.m. for a Memorial Day ceremony. I encourage you to participate in one of the many events taking place in our community.

As a former member of the Army Reserves, Commander of the AMVETS Post 35 in Rotterdam and a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Veterans Affairs, I am committed to supporting our troops, their families and our returning heroes.

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other community issue, please feel free to contact me at or 518-382-2941.