Another Memorial Day has recently been the topic of conversation in the newspapers and TV, but perhaps the understanding of what and why we have this day to remember those who gave all is not all that clear. While many of my generation have a pretty good handle on this, the mission of this short story is to provide a bit of history that is often left out of our classrooms.

Over the past 250 years, American soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine seamen have not only donned their respective uniforms proudly, but also put their lives on the line in places far from our own shores to help make the USA the most powerful and successful country ever known to mankind.

It should be noted, however, that America has never started a war since the one in 1776! We have never been an invading force, but rather one that protects our national sovereignty and offers aid and assistance to those countries that are aligned with our Christian Judaea beliefs.

As a nation, our military men and women have brought about peace and prosperity not only for our nation, but throughout the world, often at great personal loss of lives and limbs.

Memorial Day first came about as a reaction to the massive loss of lives in our own Civil War. In addition to the over 600,000 deaths, many returned home devastated both physically and mentally.

Having had brothers, fathers and sons pitted against one another for four long years created a need for healing. Slowly over the next several years, communities began visiting grave sites of those fallen in the largest loss of lives in our entire history.

And so my friends, since 1864, from sea to shining sea and all across our fantastic nation, in cities and towns large and small alike, we gather for parades, hot dogs and hamburgers to commemorate the fallen warriors who will forever remain our constant guardians.

These men and women were our parents, brothers and sisters and friends from schools or even new ones found sharing a fox hole in a far off jungle.

Their memories will never be forgotten and, in a way, are also represented by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier!

For those of us fortunate enough to have made it home, we should make a point of participating in as many of these outings as is possible to show our respect for those who gave their all. We, at some time in the future, will join our fellow defenders of liberty.

It is also important to acknowledge the support of our loved ones who stayed home and dealt with all the anxiety that exists when separated from spouse or parent. Our families have also suffered along with us through often long and dangerous deployments. With assignment on a burial team, one sees and feels the loss of the loved ones before and during the memorial.

I am proud to have been commissioned along with 573 others back in June 1964. The Vietnam War of several generations ago saw 24 of my classmates and fellow soldiers give their lives for our country.

I think of each so often and thank everyone of them for their selfless sacrifice. I suspect there may be several of you, like me who have been graveside when a 21-gun salute is followed by the haunting tone of a bugle playing “Taps.” Rather quickly, I reflect with nostalgia the memories of our men and women who fought willingly for our country.

Please feel free to express your thoughts on this subject to friends, neighbors, family, and even me. My email address: carledye64@gmail.com awaits your thoughts!

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