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/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher

Yellow Ribbon program supports Airman inspired by family history

U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher Almira Pasic and her youngest son, Memsudin, participate in an activity during the Warrior Support Forum, at a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, held in Chandler, Ariz., July 26...
 
 

Celebrate National Parents’ Day 2015

Yes, you read the headline correctly. There is such a thing as National Parents’ Day. It is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Sunday of July, which happens to be this coming Sunday. This holiday was established in 1994 when former President Bill Clinton signed a Congressional Resolution into Law (36 U.S.C. § 135) for...
 
 

Last chance to design airshow poster

March Air Reserve Base is holding a design contest for the “March Field AirFest 2016: Thunder Over the Empire” poster. Everyone is eligible to enter. The winning designer will receive a 2016 AirFest package for a family of four. The package includes VIP parking for one vehicle (excluding RVs); four tickets to the pre-show dinner...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Airman shares Honor Flight with grandfather

Courtesy photo Capt. Malia Hoffmann and her grandfather, Oscar Hoffmann, a WWII veteran, prepare to depart for Washington, D.C. on an Honor Flight. The Hoffmanns traveled with approximately 84 other veterans and their dependent...
 
 

Keep telling your Air Force Reserve story

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Personally Identifying Information in Public Affairs ProductsIn the wake of information operations launched by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), I have seen a number of incidents where Reservists have requested to have Air Force news stories identifying them by name and rank removed from Air Force...
 
 
Halle-Berry

Halle Berry Connects With the U.S. Military

Halle Berry stars in the Science-Fiction show “Extant,” which just began its second season. Finding out someone values and appreciates what you do can keep you floating at cloud level for weeks, especially when the someone ...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>