|McALLEN, May 26 - On Memorial Day we honor and remember the men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces.
These fallen heroes gave the ultimate sacrifice of defending our freedom. They had our backs, now we must have theirs.
In the military, "got your six" means "I've got your back." Originating in World War I, if you picture yourself at the center of a clock face, the area directly in front of you is twelve o'clock. Six o'clock is what lies behind you. On a battlefield, your "six" is the most vulnerable. So, when someone tells you they've "got your six," it means they're watching your back. Likewise, that person expects you to have their back as well. "Got your six" perfectly highlights the way military members look out for each other.
The loyalty, dependability, and cooperation embedded in this term is something that all Americans should embrace to better understand and look out for our military families who have lost loved ones as well as our returning veterans. Throughout our nation's history it is our servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. We must continue to honor our obligations to those who have defended our country with selfless service.
As a Vietnam veteran for the United States Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our military families endure on a daily basis. Families must find great strength to endure each day with the loss of a loved one, to live with a service disabled veteran, or to wait and hope patiently while their soldier serves in active duty. We must thank them, support them and have their backs as well.
Every day of my life as I smell the flowers, hear the birds sing, feel the wind on my face and enjoy my freedom I am grateful and remember my fellow Marines in Vietnam. What was so amazing to me was how we bonded as a family. We were all Americans, we were united. We stood together ready to fight and die for our country - our freedom. Different races, different backgrounds and cultures, and different states; yet, we were all the same. We could each say to the other -- "got your six."
Just as we were a family during wartime, we must cultivate these bonds amongst our communities back home by honoring and remembering our fallen heroes and by respecting, encouraging, and helping the families they left behind as well as our Veterans who returned home safely. We must stand behind our Veterans as they adjust to being home and help them to succeed. Veterans are great assets to our communities and we can greatly benefit from their unique skills and experiences.
This Memorial Day weekend, as we gather with family and friends during picnics and enjoy the gifts of living in a free society, stop for a minute and think of the tremendous work and sacrifice required so that we may continue to enjoy our freedom and life's pleasures. Honor the great courage and valor of those who died defending our country, thank a veteran for his or her selfless service, and tell our military heroes and their families -- "Got your six!"
Semper Fi. God Bless you all.
Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa is a Texas state Senator. A Democrat from McAllen, he represents District 20 in the Senate. He is chair of the intergovernmental relations committee.