Memorial Day is one of the holiest of days to a veteran, regardless of creed. It is a solemn day, a day of remembrance. It is a day to appreciate what was given and mourn losses. It is a day to count our blessings that this is not our holiday. It is a day to revel in the freedoms we have. In 2012, our liberties are in danger, and our flag may be tattered, but we are still strong and freedom will prevail because we still have men and women who will stand for that freedom.
Most Americans live their lives with little conscious thought to the blessings of liberty, and even less thought to what liberty costs. Many do not even realize how much has been spent in the 230+ years of this nation.
American Sacrifices (Estimated) –
Revolutionary War – 4,435
War of 1812 – 2,260
Mexican War – 13,283
Civil War – 364,511
Spanish-American War – 2,446
WWI – 116,516
WWII – 405,399
Korean War – 36,574
Vietnam War – 58,209
Gulf War – 382
Global War on Terror – 6,438
At least 1,010,453 American military personnel have given their lives in wartime defending our freedoms.
Every time an American goes to their church, synagogue, or mosque without fear of oppression, they walk through the shadow of the men who died at places like Valley Forge and the Leyte Gulf.
When the media publishes stories critical of the government, their ink is visible by the same life’s blood that colored the ground at Bunker Hill and Normandy .
Each time a citizen casts their vote freely, expressing the “consent of the governed”, they place them in ballot boxes guarded by the spirits of those who drowned at Pearl Harbor or died in the hedgerows of France.
Whenever young people live their lives without knowing the fear of Nuclear War, it is the legacy of the brave fighting men who sacrificed at Inchon and in the jungles of Vietnam.
When people board an airplane or go to work in a skyscraper, they are safer because young men and women already faced the bombs in Anbar and Kabul.
Every day that people wake up as free Americans instead of as chattel, it is because of those who never woke up at Gettysburg and Bull Run.
It is not just those in America who benefit from this legacy, this proud brotherhood. Everywhere that one finds a measure of freedom in the world, it is either due to the direct sacrifice of America’s finest for those who are now free in distant lands or indirectly through the shining example our nation has set; made possible by those who laid down their lives.
Throughout our history, men and women have stood up to be counted, to put their lives forth to defend freedom and lift up the ideals of liberty. There is a saying – “A veteran is someone who wrote a check payable to the U.S.A., for up to and including their lives.” Memorial Day is the day we honor those whose check was cashed for the full amount. They sacrificed for us to be free, and for us to remain free. This Memorial Day, between the burgers and the fun, remember them and renew your commitment to preserve what they gave their lives for. Do not forget that even as you enjoy your day off, young men and women are in harm’s way, and some will more than likely be added to the rolls. The best way to honor their sacrifices is to fight to preserve freedom in the realm of ideas and politics, so what they died for on the battlefield is not given away in the halls of Congress.
Roll of Honor – Afghanistan, May 2012
Army 2nd Lt. Travis A. Morgado, 25, of San Jose, Calif.
Army Spc. Arronn D. Fields, 27, of Terre Haute, Ind.
Army 2nd Lt. Tobias C. Alexander, 30, of Lawton, Okla.
Army Capt. Jesse A. Ozbat, 28, of, Prince George, Va.
Navy Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (SW) Ryan J. Wilson, 26, of Shasta, Calif.
Army Spc. Samuel T. Watts, 20, of Wheaton, Ill.
Army Sgt. Michael J. Knapp, 28, of Overland Park, Kan.
Army Sgt. Jabraun S. Knox, 23, of Fort Wayne, Ind.
Army Pfc. Richard L. McNulty III, 22, of Rolla, Mo.
Army Sgt. Brian L. Walker, 25, of Lucerne Valley, Calif.
Army Spc. Alex Hernandez III, 21, of Round Rock, Texas
Army Staff Sgt. Israel P. Nuanes, 38, of Las Cruces, N.M.
Navy Operations Specialist 2nd Class Jorge Luis Velasquez, 35, of Houston
Army 1st Lt. Alejo R. Thompson, 30, of Yuma, Ariz.
Marine Sgt. Wade D. Wilson, 22, of Normangee, Texas
Army Pfc. Dustin D. Gross, 19, of Jeffersonville, Ky.
Army Spc. Chase S. Marta, 24, of Chico, Calif.
Army Sgt. Jacob M. Schwallie, 22, of Clarksville, Tenn.
Army Staff Sgt. Thomas K. Fogarty, 30, of Alameda, Calif.
Marine Sgt. John P. Huling, 25, of West Chester, Ohio
Army Master Sgt. Gregory L. Childs, 38, Warren, Ark.
Army Staff Sgt. Zachary H. Hargrove, 32, of Wichita, Kan.
Army Spc. Junot M. L. Cochilus, 34, of Charlotte, N.C.
Army 2nd Lt. David E.Rylander, 23, of Stow, Ohio
Army Capt. Bruce K. Clark, 43, of Spencerport, N.Y.