Sacrifice is an American Value

December 25, 2020
Weekly Column

The Christmas season is a time of joy, thankfulness, and blessings. Families will gather together, give gifts, and drink libations. This year will look a little different though, and I was reminded as we sacrifice and keep our gatherings smaller this year, there are millions of Americans who have made that sacrifice willingly for generations – our servicemen and women.

Unlike us civilians, our servicemembers often don’t get to choose how many people can attend their holiday gathering because they are stationed overseas. Recently, my Rapid City office brought on one of these individuals who spent a better portion of his life dedicated to our country’s security.

Marco Padilla is a former Navy sailor and current Wounded Warrior Congressional Fellow. For eight years, he served on the USS Anzio, traveled the world’s seas, completed multinational missions abroad, and was awarded Sailor of the Year. There were many times he didn’t get to spend the holidays with his loved ones.

I’m grateful that the Wounded Warrior Congressional Fellowship partnered Marco with our office. If you haven’t served, you can’t fully understand what our veterans have experienced – Marco will bridge that gap for South Dakota’s congressional office.

As a former Texan and Washingtonian, Marco was ready to join a community like South Dakota – he says he was drawn to our state because of our entrepreneurship, resilient spirit, and strong sense of community. If there’s one thing we need in 2020, it’s strong community and friendships.

During our interview, Marco told me most people join the military not only because of their deep sense of duty to their country and public service, but to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to join a community of brothers and sisters. 

I’m grateful South Dakota can now be that community for individuals like Marco, and I hope you feel that sense of unity too. As we enter the holiday season, know you’re not alone and we’re all in this together. And if you can, thank a veteran for their many sacrifices.