Last month, seven sailors — including one from Baltimore County — were killed in a collision between a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, USS Fitzgerald, and a Filipino merchant ship. Ranging in age from 19 to 37, these sailors represent a cross section of America's finest, hailing from various communities, socio-economic levels and ethnic groups from across the globe. While those who knew him mourn the loss of Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, a Landsdowne High School graduate who worked hard to rise through Navy ranks to become one of the youngest sailors to achieve the rank of petty officer first class, they are not alone. As a retired Vice Admiral with 35 years of service in the U.S. Navy, I can confidently say that the crew's swift and effective response to keep the ship afloat and power it back to port saved many more lives. I can say with certainty that Navy families come together in times of tragedy. And finally, I can say without reservation that members of our all-volunteer armed forces routinely put themselves in dangerous places for the good of the country and sometimes make the difficult choice to sacrifice themselves to save the lives of their fellow service members. Our nation has prevailed for 241 years because of such honor, courage and commitment, as evidenced by those who laid down their lives for our nation, including our fallen sailors last month.