For some, Memorial Day is a long weekend, marking the beginning of summer, a time for family and friends to get together. It is that, but it is also an opportunity for us to remember the sacrifice of so many members of our Armed Forces, from before the Revolutionary War until the present. These military personnel gave their lives to form a new nation and to defend it and their fellow citizens. They have stood, and fallen, to safeguard our way of life and the freedom we sometimes take for granted. They were ordinary people like you and me. A great majority of them volunteered to serve their country. Memorial Day is the day designated for us to pay tribute to those veterans who paid the ultimate price to give us our country and our way of life.
Michigan has lost 179 service members in the current conflict. Regardless of whatever else you may think of Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), she is one of 28 governors that order US flags to be flown at half-staff to honor those who have fallen in action. She also meets with families of the fallen, if they so choose, during the week before Memorial Day.
In the 8th year of the Global War on Terror—Overseas Contingency Operation just doesn’t cut it for me—there is personal significance to Memorial Day for service members. We know the fallen, either from serving with them or by association with their units. The same is, of course, true for their families and friends.
Frequent readers will recall I’m a member of the Michigan Army National Guard. See Faces of the Fallen to learn more about our 12 fallen comrades.
- 14 Apr 03—SPC Richard A. Goward, 32, convoy accident
- 17 Jul 04—SPC Craig S. Frank, 24, IED
- 15 Mar 05—SSG Ricky A. Kieffer, 36, small arms fire
- 04 Nov 05—SPC Timothy D. Brown, 23, IED
- 21 Nov 05—PFC John W. Dearing, 21, IED
- 08 Dec 05—SGT Spencer C. Akers, 35, IED
- 26 Dec 05—SPC Dane O. Carver, 20, small arms fire
- 01 Mar 06—SGT Joshua V. Youmans, 26, IED
- 27 Apr 06—SGT Matthew A. Webber, 23, IED
- 10 Jul 06—SGT Duane J. Dresky, 31, IED
- 06 Jun 07—SGT Matthew J. Soper, 25, IED
- 26 Jun 08—SFC Matthew L. Hilton, 37, IED
Previously on Memorial Day: