Commentary

May 31, 2013

Memorial Day: Remembering our fellow servicemembers

Tags:
Col. David Almand
375th Air Mobility Wing commander

Volunteers from Team March and the local community place flags on graves at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery May 25, 2013 in honor of Memorial Day.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – This year, Memorial Day hit a little closer to home. While it was a day to reflect and remember the sacrifices borne by all those who’ve died while serving our nation in uniform, my thoughts were turned toward the recent losses we’ve suffered here and in the Air Mobility Command community.

As volunteers placed flags at the tombstones of our past deceased veterans, they also placed them on the hallowed ground that now holds the recent passing of Airmen in its arms: MC-12 Liberty crewmembers Capt. Brandon Cyr, Capt. Reid Nishizuka, Staff Sgts. Daniel Fannin and Richard Dickson, KC-135 Stratotanker crewmembers Capts. Mark Voss and Victoria Pinckney and Tech. Sgt. Herman Mackey III.

All were dedicated Airmen who died while doing their duty. We miss them and continue to pray for their families as they cope with their loss. This is just one way we can honor them and keep their memories alive.  

Many of us attended picnics and barbecues and there was nothing wrong with that; yet, I do hope time was set aside to for a moment of reflection and acknowledgement.

Many people may not know, but it was an Illinois native who championed the existence of Memorial Day. After serving in the Civil War as a leader with the Army of Ulysses S. Grant, Maj. Gen. John Logan devoted his civilian life to public service advocating for a strong Republic, initiating changes and benefits for the country’s veterans and leading the call for the creation of Memorial Day as a national public holiday.

He saw the bloody results from both the Mexican-American War and Civil War and bonded with veterans through an organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, which was formed first for camaraderie and later for political power.

It was under the umbrella of that organization and the command of Logan, that May 30, was designated as Memorial Day. It stood, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion and whose bodies now lie in almost every city village and hamlet church-yard in the land,” he said.

It was a day set aside to preserve and strengthen those “kind and fraternal feelings which had bounded the Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines who united in that campaign to suppress the late rebellion.

What can aid more to assure that result, than tenderly cherishing the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes?

“We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided Republic,” explained Logan.

He believed that it is the duty of survivors of war to honor the memory of their departed comrades. It was also his desire that all Americans unite to renew their pledge to aid and assist the widows and orphans of servicemembers.

Through the years, our country only observed Memorial Day, but in 1968, it became a federal holiday for the last Monday during May. There are no prescribed guidelines for observing and honoring our war dead, but it is customary to place flowers on the graves of servicemembers and hold a brief, somber ceremony to recognize their service to the nation at the ultimate personal cost.

We can pause for just a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all and to renew our efforts to assist the family members left behind, devastated by their loss. We can also renew our efforts to aid the disabled veterans. We should teach our children about those we have lost and we should set the example in how we choose to observe this day.

I echo the same sentiments as Logan when he said, “If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.”

Their legacy is ours to keep and it is a solemn trust. Let us always remember the brave and fallen. Never forget or take for granted the blood spilt for America.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. David House

Pacing program embodies Wingman concept

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. David House Staff Sgt Joey William, 452 Force Support Squadron (right) helps fellow Airmen keep pace during a timed run at the March ARB running track, June 28. William is one of several voluntee...
 
 

Protecting your possessions while on vacation

Somewhere in southern Sicily a man at a remote café sighs, refreshed after a day of climbing hills, thanks to his new black support socks. Opposite him, his wife proudly thrusts her shoulders forward to accentuate her red Yoga T-shirt, even though she has the physique of a woman who loves double ladles of crème...
 
 

Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award announced

Defense Department officials today announced the first Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award to recognize military and civilian contributions that advance the department’s goals of preventing sexual assault. Core elements of the military’s strategy to prevent sexual assault include the promotion of innovative ideas and enhanced collaboration among the services, officials said. In May, ...
 

 

New clinical recommendations to treat sleep problems

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) has released new clinical recommendations and support tools to assist in the identification and treatment of a sleep disturbance occurring in patients after a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The suite of products assists health care providers in the identification of a sleep problem and...
 
 
912-COC

News Briefs July 18, 2014

Change of Command U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Jonathan Wavell Lieutenant Colonel Nathan R. Howard, Commander, 912th Air Refueling Squadron (right), assumes command as he accepts the guidon from Colonel Shawn E. Teagan, Command...
 
 
U.S. Navy Photo/Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Harrington

They took a brave path to the United States

U.S. Navy Photo/Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Harrington Jimmy Truong (sitting) and Vien Do escaped from Vietnam and found their way to the U.S. before eventually landing Information Technology jobs at the AFN...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin