Happy Memorial Day
May is the month that we have set aside to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. Memorial Day was by tradition celebrated on May 30 of each year.
That was until congress decided the annual observance will be the last Monday in May. This change gives our country a three day weekend that many believe is the beginning of the summer season. Children are finishing this unusual school year and families are preparing to come out of isolation for those long awaited vacations.
It is also the day all Americans should take a moment and remember each fallen soldier. Men and women who once had hopes of a tomorrow with family and dreams of a lifetime that lay ahead of them. For thousands, those dreams faded with their loss of life. I believe we can honor their memory and perhaps keep their dreams alive if only we take a moment and remember.
Last year four American Soldiers were killed in combat in Iraq and Syria and four in non-combat incidents. These soldiers were each returned to Dover Air Force Base. Each of their families waited as the Air Force 747 sat on the air field. With ritual precision flag draped transfer cases were removed from the plane into a waiting vehicle. The event took only a brief moment in time, but it will be long remembered by family members who were present at the return of their fallen loved ones.
Fallen soldiers returned to America for the last time that somber day. These soldiers gave their lives in an effort to bring peace to a violent land. Eight soldiers that served their country, died while performing their duty, now returned home to grieving families.
The Pentagon now pays for family members to travel to Dover Air Force Base to view the proceedings. It is only a short moment the families are to be present for. Family members must stay at a distance and are asked not to touch the transfer case. After the transfer the members of the family return home and make preparations for the ceremony.
Over the next few days the soldier’s remains under goes a process to prepare their body before returning them to family. The process is performed with great care and as much respect as possible. After the soldier has been prepared, they are returned to family for the funeral. Each funeral is conducted with full military honors.
Thousands have died since the war began twenty years ago. And before that many more died defending the ideals of our country since its beginnings. We started setting aside a day to remember the fallen and sometimes we whisper to ourselves, perhaps this will be the last time we add new names to our list of war dead on this day.
Our lives are filled with many challenges, and we sometimes forget those far from home defending our country. This Memorial Day stop for a moment, close your eyes and imagine you feel the loss thousands of families have felt down through our country’s history. And perhaps by sharing a little of the pain, we can make their hurt a little easier Through the Lens.