We, as a Nation, collectively paused this past Monday - as we do each year on Memorial Day - to reflect on the many sacrifices made by the service men and women, and their families, who have defended our country.
I believe one of our Nation's greatest duties and the truest way to honor our fallen heroes is to ensure their surviving family are taken care of. That is why I authored and introduced the Gold Star Families Equality Act last week. This legislation will allow Gold Star parents to access retail, exchange, and commissary benefits currently only afforded to surviving spouses.
I know a parent's access to these benefits may seem like the smallest token of gratitude in response to their child's death, but this legislation is the product of many conversations I have had with local families whose children have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Tragically, many of our fallen heroes are young, which often means their sole survivors are their parents. This small act to grant them retail, exchange, and commissary benefits will alleviate some burden for upward of 57,000 military parents.
As the grandson of a Gold Star mother, I understand how important the Gold Star community is for the survivors of our fallen service men and women. We cannot limit the benefits for our Gold Star survivors solely to spouses and children, when parents too are making this incredible sacrifice.
I believe this legislation will service as a tangible reminder that this Nation stands behind our Gold Star families and always will.