“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.”

We recited that poem every night. Following our nightly ritual, my mom would have us “wish” for our father’s safe return in our prayers. Like many little boys during World War II, my brother, Joe, and I yearned to see our dad come home.

Last week was Independence Day. There were parades, fireworks, and barbecues. People flocked to pools and parks. Many of us had the day off. We celebrated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with our family and close friends.

However, not everyone was afforded that same luxury.

With hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops stationed oversees, their families were left with a vacant chair at the July 4th dinner festivities.

There are so many American children who will, tonight, make a similar “wish” like I did all those years ago in hopes of seeing their parents return home safely. They, along with their parents, are making a selfless sacrifice to ensure our safety and freedoms.

I spent time over the 4th of July holiday thinking about those brave men and women. It is no secret that during my time in Congress I focused on education and defense. Further assisting the military families is one of the reasons I continue to work and fight here in Washington.

I am, and will forever be, grateful for all of those who serve and protect this country.