Two years ago, the world watched in horror - day after day - at the scenes coming from Afghanistan. But no day will be remembered as worse than August 26, 2021, when the bombing at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport took the lives of 13 American heroes.

To say that those 13 men and women represent the best of our nation would be a dramatic understatement. They stood up, raised their hands, and volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way in order to keep the vulnerable safe, protect our country, and to defend freedom and democracy. They served their nation with honor, and we will forever be indebted to them.

Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover

Marine Corps Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo

Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole L. Gee

Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez

Marine Corps Corporal Daegan W. Page

Marine Corps Corporal Humberto A. Sanchez

Marine Corps Lance Corporal David L. Espinoza

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared M. Schmitz

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee J. McCollum

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola

Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem M. Nikoui

Army Staff Sergeant Ryan C. Knauss

Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class Maxton W. Soviak

Today, our hearts are with the Gold Star families of these fallen heroes. May they take some small ounce of comfort in knowing that we will never forget their names or their sacrifices.