â€œConsider yourself dead. Some of you wonâ€™t come back from this mission. Some of you will, but youâ€™ll be the lucky ones.â€ That was an excerpt taken from a 15th Army Air Force briefing given to a squadron of B-17 aircrews before a bombing mission over Germany during World War II. The briefing officer wasnâ€™t using hyperbole.
Throughout WWII, more than 100,000 Allied bomber aircrews were killed over Europe. As a matter of fact, at the height of the war, an aircrew memberâ€™s chance of being killed before completing his tour of duty had surpassed 50 percent. As sobering as this statistic may be, it only partially reflected the total number of American WWII casualties. As you know, WWII is one of many wars and conflicts our countrymen have fought and died in since the birth of this nation.
When I am reminded of those who gave their lives on behalf of this country, I cannot help but be filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation for their dedication to duty. Placing service before self, despite knowing their wartime survival odds were slim at best, makes it impossible to forget their sacrifices.
Whether attending air shows, talking current events with military professionals, or listening to veterans as they recount their experiences, I am reminded.
While watching nightly news broadcasts with reports of fallen heroes, visiting the hospital wards housing our wounded, or walking through national cemeteries, I am reminded.
I am reminded that all of them speak to the bravery and courage of fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen, who considered the odds, calculated the risks, knew the challenges, yet still pressed on with their duties.
While I cannot personally say â€œthank youâ€ to all who have paid the ultimate price in the defense of our country, I can certainly give them the respect and honor that they deserve by memorializing their contributions to our freedom; something we sometimes take for granted.
On Memorial Day I will pause, reflect and remember them. I will remember their courageous devotion to duty and the price they paid for it.
In your own way, please join me by taking a moment to honor our fallen service members. Remember them and remember the costly sacrifice they made so that we might celebrate this countryâ€™s Memorial Day.
Everyone is welcome!
42nd Air Mobility Wing A & B UTA
Sunday Worship Services
6:30 – 6:50 a.m.
50th/56th Aerial Port Squadrons, Bldg. 2340
12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Base Chapel, Bldg. 468