Weekly Columns

Arkansas native Brady Prewitt was recently laid to rest at his family’s plot in Sharp County. His return to The Natural State was a long time coming. The Navy Seaman 2nd Class was serving on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

His remains were interred with other unidentified crew members at the National Member Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii until they were exhumed for forensic analysis in 2015. With the help of DNA testing, he was identified in 2019 and has finally been reunited with his loved ones after more than 80 years. Prewitt’s cousin called his homecoming “very special.” 

Honoring our fallen heroes and continuously working to ensure they return home is part of our nation’s commitment. As we commemorate Memorial Day, we pay tribute to selfless and courageous individuals like him who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

This is a humble reminder that our freedom is a privilege fought for and earned by brave men and women protecting the promise of our country and future generations of Americans. They have put others before themselves because they believed in what our country stands for and the beacon of light it represents worldwide.

Arkansas can be proud of the heroes from our state called to serve in uniform. My thoughts and prayers are with those from our state who laid down their lives, as well as their families whose support and understanding of the soldier’s call to duty is one reason we enjoy the freedoms we do today. 

Just as importantly, we must always care for the loved ones these heroes left behind. 

That’s why we need to modernize benefits for surviving family members. I’m proud to champion the Caring for Survivors Act of 2021 so we can continue to honor the promise we made to servicemembers and their loved ones. This legislation adjusts the earned monthly benefits provided to survivors of servicemembers who die in the line of duty in line with payments to surviving spouses of other federal employees, allowing us to better care for the loved ones of troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

While I’m committed to improving policies supporting families who have lost a loved one in service to our country and upholding their legacies, I’m pleased to see how these heroes continue to be an inspiration for Arkansans.

The Northwest Arkansas veteran-serving nonprofit Bo’s Blessings regularly organizes volunteers to clean headstones at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. This labor of love is a simple yet meaningful way to honor the memories of the men and women who defended our freedoms and way of life. I was proud to participate recently to show my appreciation for those who wore our nation’s uniform and are laid to rest on that hallowed ground.

May God Bless every man and woman we’ve lost in battle as they fought in defense of our ideals. Let us honor the willingness of all troops called to serve in our nation’s uniform and always remember the brave individuals who have given everything for us to be the greatest, freest nation in the world.