2 days ago, 05/23/2013 at 4:10pm
On Monday, we celebrate Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who died while serving our country in the Armed Forces, not to be confused with Veterans Day when we honor the service of all U.S. military veterans, living and dead.
In the 237 years of these United States, well over a million military men and women have died while serving our country. That is an astounding number. Each of those casualties left family and friends behind. Those circles of loss spread to touch most every citizen in our country.
The Greatest Generation grew up with World War II as a life-changing conflict. Korea sent many World War II vets back into the field of battle. Vietnam changed the Boomer Generation. The Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan have introduced new generations to the realities of war and sacrifice.
I suspect that when we think of Memorial Day and fallen heroes, we often think of the beaches of Normandy or Iwo Jima or maybe Khe Sanh or Hamburger Hill and the men who died there.
Yet there is a new generation of fallen heroes that should be included in our remembrance this Memorial Day. The War in Iraq and Afghanistan has produced a new generation of war widows and grieving families. It may be time to expand our national consciousness to include not only the wars of long ago, but the wars of the 21st century, including the Afghanistan war that is still going on today.
While we are honoring fallen heroes, Memorial Day is a good time to ponder the loss of thousands and thousands of lives and wonder what our world might have been like had those who died not had their lives cut short. When we honor their sacrifice for our country, it’s ok to wish they hadn’t been asked to make that sacrifice.
But for now, let us remember the following members of the U.S. Military who died serving their country just within the last month. It is my great honor to devote this space to recognizing them. Please read their names, ages and hometowns so that they might not be nameless or faceless to us, the very people they died serving.