If you’ve spent much time driving through Middle Georgia, you’ve seen “EDIMGIAFAD” painted across everything from water towers to billboards. “Every day in Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day.”

Nationwide, May is Military Appreciation Month, a time to honor those brave Americans who have raised their hand and spoken the oath to selflessly protect and defend our great nation. To our brave men and women in uniform: This month is for you.

Whether we are in times of war or peace, the dedication and determination of our troops is bar none. By answering the call to serve, our warfighters forgo health, home, and personal security in support of their fellow Americans.

Since Vietnam, all of our service men and women have volunteered to serve in times of conflict, fully aware that dangerous deployments lie right around the corner. Every service member has sacrificed precious time away from friends and family, allowing us to create memories with our own.

Their service, strength, and value cannot be measured and our thanks and recognition extends far beyond this month, but rather to each and every day. EDIMGIAFAD.

Home to nine military institutions, Georgia has an undeniably rich history of duty to country. Georgia’s Eighth District is home to two of those installations—Robins and Moody Air Force Bases— which are critically important to America’s security at home and abroad. I am extremely proud to represent our bases and the thousands of veterans, military families, and Department of Defense civilian employees who call the Eighth District home.

While we celebrate our service men and women this month, we will also pause on Memorial Day to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, including First Lieutenant Weston C. Lee of Bluffton, who was killed in Mosul, Iraq on April 29, 2017 from injuries sustained while part of a train, advise, and assist mission in support of partner forces.

As we approach Memorial Day, our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with 1LT Lee’s family and friends, as well as all other brave men and women who have been killed in action to defend our nation. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude, and their sacrifices should inspire all Americans to fight to make our country as strong as it can be.

To our service members, it’s an honor to represent you in Washington and thank you for your commitment to protecting and serving your fellow Americans. We stand grateful to you.

Vivien, our kids, and I wish you a very safe and happy Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day weekend.

In God we Trust.

Congressman Austin Scott represents Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, including the Subcommittee on Readiness and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He is also a member of the House Army Caucus, Congressional Air Force Caucus, and Congressional Army Aviation Caucus, among others.

This piece originally ran on May 23, 2017 in the Macon Telegraph.