Stars and stripes forever


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — Sacrifice: the act of offering something precious.

The nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that it can never fully understand or repay. The willingness of American heroes to make the ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten.

Memorial Day is the “most expensive” holiday in the United States, as it is a day for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. There is a difference, Armed Forces Day is for those who currently wear the uniform, and Veterans Day is for those who used to wear the uniform. Memorial Day is a day for those who never made it out of the uniform.

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men”, Minot Judson Savage wrote.

The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude. In honor of those who gave their all so others may live freely, Greenville hosted their Darke County Veterans Services Parade at 1 p.m followed by a ceremony in the cemetery.

“Thank you for coming out and remembering,” Congressman Warren Davidson said. “This is not just a day to celebrate, but it is a day to remember the men and women who have give their lives to make our nation what it can be.”

For many, Memorial Day is really just the start of summer. It is an opportunity to get together with friends and family, but unfortunately these opportunities were paid for by the thousands of American’s who never got to come home to theirs.

“The flags and flowers on the gravesites mark the doers of deeds,” Warren Davidson said. “We all know it is free to join the military, but for some that cost everything and those are who we are remembering on this day.”

The price of freedom is approximately 4,435 casualties in the American Revolution (1775-1783), 2,260 in the War of 1812 (1812-1815), 116,516 casualties in WWI (1917-1918), 405,399 in WWII (1941-1945), 36,574 in the Korean War (1950-1953), 58,220 souls in the Vietnam War (1964-1975), 383 casualties in Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991) and 6,775 lost Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom (Oct. 2001 – present).

The true number of those lost will never be know, nor will society ever be able to pay off that debt. Americans will never know the promises that these men and women made, what they pledged to give, or a word they said, but for love of their country, they accepted death so those who live in the country may live.

“One of my friends went into the infantry with me, and he got deployed to Iraq,” Congressman Davidson said. “Unfortunately, he was hit by an IED and was killed.”

Davidson said he was able to meet his friend’s son who ended up growing up without a dad due to the incident. The wife had to adjust and change her life to be a soul provider for their son without his dad.

“Here’s the thing. Those sacrifices have consequences. One of those consequences are our great country, but the other is the hole that is left for families,” Congressman Davidson said.

It is important to honor those who not only died, but those who were prisoners of war (POWs) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as they too have not made it out of the uniform. In their memory, remember the family left behind: parents, spouses, siblings, and children who have work that heavy burden of their loved ones loss, as they deserve support and compassion.

“Thank you to our Gold Star families that are dealing with the loss of a family member, and thank you for those who served and suffer wounds both visible and not,” Congressman Davidson said. “We are still losing far too many veterans and Americans to suicide.”

He recognized those who may physically have come home but have not returned in their minds. Those veterans are still in uniform fighting every single day for the patriotism they showed, so the majority do not have to know what the struggle is like. Congressman Davidson addressed the civilians saying they are able to serve the country today and everyday as well.

“The way you can serve our country isn’t just by coming out and remembering days like today, but by being a good friend to someone who needs a friend,” Congressman Davidson said.

He said thank you for keeping the faith, and by the communities resolve, “the country can be all that is has the potential to be.”

Memorial Day should be honored more than just the last Monday in May. One day does not seem like enough to thank those who have sacrificed so much. For bravery, courage, and valor, we thank you.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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