Memorial Day May 25, 2015
Each Memorial Day we remember those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation.
We build monuments that represent the wars we have fought in from the Revolutionary War to our current engagements not to glorify war but to remember those who served with courage and valor and gave all they had for our freedoms.
Since the founding of this country Americans have served all over the world to combat those who wish to oppress and destroy the free will of the people on this planet. Many of these battles have been politically and morally correct and some have not been.
But those who went to serve and give of themselves must not ever be judged upon the political correctness of their service; but solely upon the merit of their service when their country called.
Where does America get such fine young people? The fact is that we have been raising them since 1775, when the young colonists put down their pitchforks and picked up their muskets to establish the United States of America. For 240 years, over 48 million American’s have served in the Armed Forces and over 1.2 million have given their lives in war.
These are the official numbers from the Department of Defense however they do not include the over 93,000 Americans still listed as POW/MIA’s, nor the hundreds of thousands that did not die on the battlefield, but subsequently succumbed to the physical ,mental and chemical wounds of war.
On foreign beaches, in isolated fighting holes, at sea and in the air, they met their final fate wearing the uniform of freedom. They are the sons and daughters of liberty, they are the legacy of courage, they are the reason we build statues, memorials and walls of honor. For so many of them, life had hardly begun.
But in the blink of an eye and the calling of their country, they would sacrifice their dreams for ours.
We remember today because such heroism, such courage, such sacrificial love must never be forgotten. The free air we breathe is the product of the blood they shed.
Courage is not confined to the field of battle. Behind each name are families who have paid a tremendous price, the flesh of their flesh, the blood of their blood. To this day, they cling to a final letter, an old year book, a sports jacket that may still hang in closet, precious reminders of a loved one who never came home.
Freedom, which is the birthright of all Americans is a precious gift and has been given to all of us at a great cost. It is what members of our Armed Forces have fought and died for since the founding of our nation. It is the duty of those of us who survived to keep alive the memory of our brothers and sisters who gave their lives so that others will understand the sacrifices required to maintain that freedom.
Such sacrificial love must not ever be taken for granted, must not ever become a fading memory. We must always remember so that we may always be free.
Remember that Freedom is not Free, because it has been bought and paid for with the sweat, tears, blood and lives of those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Sgt. Patrick W. Welch, USMC (Ret)