It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived. -General George S. Patton, June 7, 1945
Many writers will chastise Americans today for spending too much time on barbequing and not enough time remembering the sacrifices that this day is set aside to memorialize. I’m not one of those. We each remember in our own way, and I would submit that many of those fallen servicemembers would prefer that they be remembered, not in somber ceremonies, but in celebrations of the American way of life.
I served my country for 23 years, and while proud of that fact, I also will tell you that I’m humbled by the opportunity, and don’t feel that anyone owes me anything. I chose to serve, and knew full well the potential outcomes. I am eternally grateful for all who served before me, with me, and those who have served since. I honor each and every one of them, and particularly honor those who gave their lives. This nation is unique in the world, both present and historically, and that uniqueness has much to do with the character of its citizens, who respond to the call of freedom, and make the necessary sacrifices to preserve freedom, not for glory, but out of a sense of selfless service.
Three days ago, six men from one of my old units, the 101st Pathfinder Company (now Co F (Pathfinder), 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)), joined the ranks of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. 1LT John M. Runkle, SSG Edward Mills, SSG Ergin Osman, SGT Louie Ramosvelazquez, SGT Thomas Bohall, and SPC Adam Patton died in combat in Afghanistan May 26th, just a few months short of their rotation home. I never knew them, but I thank God that they lived.
Remember them today as you celebrate Memorial Day.
Semper Primus(“Always First”, the motto of the 101st Pathfinders).