No two stories of service are the same. They span different conflicts and different branches, and every servicemember’s experience is different.  But one thing that every story has in common is the sacrifice made on behalf of our nation.  Some have sacrificed life and limb for our freedoms, and those stories include a Purple Heart.

Those who have received the Purple Heart set an example for all Americans.  During my time in Walter Reed Medical Center, I was surrounded by men and women who had suffered catastrophic injuries even more serious than mine, but what defined them was not their injuries: it was their resolve.

They proved that it doesn’t matter what obstacle you are facing.  If you wake up in the United States of America, underneath 50 stars and 13 red and white stripes, you have the freedom to decide that today will be better than yesterday. 

Many have fought for the freedom to make that choice, and many have literally sacrificed everything in defense of that goal.  That’s something worth reflecting on today as we recognize Purple Heart Day and honor the nearly 2 million Americans whose stories include tremendous sacrifice.  We cannot take that sacrifice for granted.