As a Nation, we have set aside the last Monday in May as Memorial Day. This day is to remember and to honor those who died while serving in our country's armed forces. Also on the day is the National Moment of Remembrance that encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
As I write this, I pause to say ‘thank you’ to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, that of their life. It is largely because of them, and all who serve and have served in our armed forces, that this country of ours reigns as the greatest country on earth. The freedoms we enjoy are ours only because we have been blessed to have dedicated men and women willing to serve in our country’s armed forces and, by that, subject themselves to losing their lives in so serving. Far too many have indeed paid the ultimate price.
Sadly a great number with whom I went through the Marine Corps basic training with at Parris Island during the mid 60’s lost their lives. One of those was my bunk mate during boot camp, William L. (Bill) Canter, who, at the age of 20, lost his life in Vietnam. It touches my heart deeply when I visit the Vietnam War Memorial - The Wall - and see his name alongside the names of thousands of other service men and women who lost their lives. As I contemplate The Wall, as well as the Korean War Memorial and the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, it reminds me that hundreds of thousands of patriots, like Bill, lost their lives in service to our country. I am sad for them and their families, and, at the same time very grateful they were brave enough to take the risk of paying the ultimate price; their very own life, so that I, my family and friends (indeed every American) might live in this great country where there is liberty and justice for all.
While Memorial Day is a time when we honor and pay our respects to the fallen, it also gives us an opportunity to recognize and thank all the others who have served our country in the military in the effort to preserve freedom. Many suffered much physical harm, while others of us were fortunate enough to be spared from physical harm or death. Additionally, let us also thank those who are serving today.
So, let us pause, no matter whatever political persuasion we each may be, and say “Thank You” to ALL of these wonderful service men and women. May God Bless them. May those who died, not have died in vain.