Too often, we send our service members off to some faraway place and we do not fully grasp the magnitude of their commitment. Not all will return. Today, Memorial Day, we honor those who did not come home; those who “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”
We Americans have been mourning our war dead for over 240 years. From Breed’s Hill, to Plattsbugh, Antietem, Flanders, Anzio, the Coral Sea, Pusan, Hue, Beirut, Dhahran, Muqtadiyah, Korengal, or any number of other places, so many never returned. Too many.
On Memorial Day, we remember them. We remember and honor all our lost service members, young (mostly), or middle aged, some fresh from training, some previously battle tested, who gave their lives so that others could return to their country, to their families, to their communities.
If you were never in uniform and want to really know what sacrifice means, listen to someone who served and lost one or more comrades. When they speak, look into their eyes. You’ll never be able to feel what they feel, but you will see that they feel something profoundly sad. Remember that.
Every time we hear about troops being deployed, we should remember that some may not come home, some may be physically, emotionally or mentally wounded beyond repair and all will be different for having served over there. We should not take lightly that we often send our family members, friends and most often now, complete strangers to face danger from which many never return.
Today we rightfully honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States of America. We owe each of them a great debt which we can never fully repay. To never, ever, forget them is one small way to make payment on that debt.
Take a moment. Honor them.
E. Kacic, a long-time Orange County resident, lives in Irvine.
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