Mindful of heroes
It is hard to imagine what it must have been like on that beach in Normandy.
A young man, barely old enough to vote, waits, tense. He fingers a trigger and glances over at a buddy. They both exchange glances and wait for the signal to move.
He does not know what awaits him on that beach, or what kind of forces he will encounter. All he knows is that he has a duty to perform and a country to protect.
And that is just what he will do. Unfortunately, he will give his life in the process.
That story is just one of many that are told when a nation goes to war.
There are thousands of stories of heroism in combat from all of the armed conflicts that have sent Americans overseas to fight.
Sometimes the stories are about soldiers whose sacrifice is to protect a platoon-mate or a civilian who has wandered into harm’s way. Often, their accomplishments are so heroic that it is impossible to imagine how anyone could be so brave when there is so much at stake.
For many of these men, there was no time to think about their families, or what they might lose. They cared about their fellow soldiers, sailors and Marines, and they were there to do a job for their country.
And in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean Conflict, the Persian Gulf war and subsequent missions in Iraq and across the Middle East, there will continue to be stories about regular people who paid the ultimate price to defend a nation they love.
They are heroes all.
Memorial Day weekend is a time for families, picnics, fun and travel for many American families.
But what we do not often remember is the reason we have that three-day weekend.
This weekend, we should remember those who have given their lives so that we can have family picnics, attend a parade or two, and enjoy the freedoms that make this country so unique.
And on the actual day itself, we should make a stop at the cemetery, hats in hand, with hands on our hearts, as we say a silent thank you to those whose lives were lost in defense of this nation.
A little respect is the least we can do for those who have given us so much.
Published in Editorials on May 28, 2005 11:36 PM