From The Battle of Bunker Hill in our Revolutionary War, the Battle at Stones River in our Civil War, Bella Woods in World War I, Omaha Beach, Iowa Jima to Pearl Harbor during World War II, Inchon in the Korean War, Saigon in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans have given their lives on the field of battle.
This Memorial Day we honor all those Americans who died in service to our nation. Those who serve know they may be called upon, at a moment’s notice, to go into harm’s way. You are never certain of returning home alive.
Not all our fatalities are on the battle field. All year around, soliders, marines, sailors, airmen, and coasties die in training exercises — and in the line of duty.
These deaths are often overlooked by those unfamiliar with the military services, training exercises. The trials and tribulations of the everyday member of the Armed Forces are often taken for granted by the public they serve.
Those Americans who die in battle, in training exercises, or while serving in routine duties leave behind grieving families. The impact felt by the loss of a fellow service member is immense and hurts morale of the entire team with whom you serve.
Families and fellow service members are left only with the memories of their loved and the lost. They awaken in the dead of night from a bad dream or nightmares of the events leading up to and during those actions or events.
As service members, it is a gut punch losing someone with whom you have trained, exercised, and, yes, fought. Many of us that buried fellow service members still remember the loss or losses as if they were yesterday. You cannot forget the faces of the family members and their anguish —and on occasion anger —when they learn of a loved one’s death.
This Memorial Day, as Americans are fighting a pandemic, ceremonies are being postponed or cancelled that honor dead service members. Those communities that are remembering our deceased veterans are doing so in creative ways.
Some will still have the speeches made by elected officials of every level or government service, current or former military members may also be making speeches and honoring our heroes. Towns, cities, counties, and states will be offering televised services and virtual programs online or streaming video live. Flyovers of current and legacy aircraft will dot the skies.
Those conducting these special ceremonies should also be saluted. They won’t let a virus prevent them from honoring our soliders, marines, sailors, airmen, and coasties who made the ultimate sacrifice.
President Lincoln, in his eloquent letter to Mrs Bixby writes, “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.”
Lincoln goes on to write, “but I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic.”
Lincoln leaves Mrs. Bixby with these words, “ I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
Regretfully, more families will sacrifice a son, daughter, husband, mom, or dad on that altar of freedom.
It is these brave men and women we salute each and every Memorial Day. God bless them all.
- Memorial Day: Pixaby