Op-eds

Below you will find the op-eds (opinion articles) that have been published in newspapers and online across the country.  Op-eds are posted according to their release date. To read by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

Of all the solemn and sacred sites in our nation’s capital, perhaps none give more pause for gratitude and reflection than the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and the inscription on its western panel: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

Since the soldiers represented at the memorial are not identified, they have come to symbolize all our brave service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe and protect our freedoms. They signify that America’s fallen heroes may be gone, but they will never be forgotten.

That is not to suggest there is a shortage of names at Arlington. All told, more than 400,000 of our nation’s finest sons and daughters are buried there, many of whom were killed in action in every American conflict from the Civil War to present-day military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Amid stately trees, their white tombstones adorn the cemetery’s hillsides – line upon line, row upon row – above the majestic Potomac.

One of the headstones belongs to Blanding native Jason Workman, a petty officer first class and Navy Seal who was among 31 Americans killed last August when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents in Afghanistan. A devoted husband and father, he was only 32. On the helicopter with Workman was 28-year-old Taylorsville Petty Officer First Class Jared William Day, who was working with the Navy Seal Team and was also killed. “He died alongside his friends, some of the bravest men this world has ever known,” his family remarked in his obituary.

And they are not alone.

Many more Utahns are numbered among America’s honored dead, both at Arlington and cemeteries across Utah, other states and in foreign lands. To honor them, I was privileged several years ago to collaborate with Lowell Alexander and Phil Naish to pen the following words to “Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones”:

Blades of grass and pure white stones

Shelter those who’ve come and gone

Just below the emerald sod

Are boys who reached the Arms of God

 

Buried here with dignity

Endless rows for all to see

Freedom’s seeds in sorrow sown

’Neath blades of grass and pure white stones

 

Blades of grass and pure white stones

Cover those who left their homes

To rest in fields here side by side

Lest we forget their sacrifice

 Since God, as the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier implies, does not forget these brave soldiers, regardless of when or where they fought and died, it follows that we must not either. Memorial Day is a day set aside as a national holiday for us to remember and honor the more than 1.2 million Americans who have given their lives in our nation’s wars to vouchsafe the ideals that we cherish.

In the Hatch family, it is a time to honor my older brother Jess, a nose gunner in a B-24 Liberator who was killed in action during World War II. I idolized him as a boy, and I still do. Losing him has made me more fully appreciate the incredible sacrifices made by our veterans and their families, including so many here in Utah. I am profoundly grateful to each and every one of them – for their example, service and courage.

As we gather with family and friends this weekend, let us not forget the purpose of Memorial Day. Let us not take liberty from honoring and remembering those who have made it possible. May we all reflect on the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform who rest, side by side, in fields beneath emerald “blades of grass and pure white stones.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah