Help us remember your American Heroes


This weekend, between the beers and barbecues and bratwurst, please be sure to take a moment and reflect upon the sacrifice that has made everything possible. Remember those who served and died in an effort to preserve freedom on our own shores and across the world.

And, if you can, please take a moment to leave a comment here. Tell us about your son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister, grandmother or grandfather, who has served the United States of America in uniform. Help us remember them, even if they’re still with us. If you’ve served–first, thank you!–tell us a little about yourself.

You can post a comment anonymously, if you choose. You can be as specific or ambiguous as you like. Post a name, if you wish. Or simply read the accounts of those who have served.

In the meantime, please take a look at Rick Saunders’ piece below. Look closely at the photos. And, if you have a few moments, listen to THIS AUDIO ESSAY (requires Windows Media Player, and is worth it) from conservative radio broadcaster Glenn Beck. I heard it yesterday myself, and was moved to tears.

Regardless of what you do this weekend, please remember those who have done so very much for each and every one of us.

– Jeff

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jeff,
    Good Saturday morning on the beginnings of a Memorial Day weekend.

    I served in the Navy during the 80′s and early 90′s in intelligence when it was a gentleman’s game for the most part. Those were the days. Compared to our contemporary “conflicts” it was a walk in the park. My many, many thanks to the brave men and women who serve in today’s armed forces.

    Thank you,
    -chuck in San Diego

  2. Dee says:

    Jeff, First, thanks for all you do. My husband and son have served in the Navy. My son was on the USS Lincoln when the Iraq War started. He worked as an aeronautic electrician on the Prowler, a spy plane. My father, a cousin, and 3 of my uncles served in the Army. Another uncle served in the Navy and it was only a few years ago, when I was given his log book, that I realized all that he had gone through as a gunner’s mate in WW II. He survived at least 3 crashes and no one ever knew this. It was an eye opener to read his journal. My brother served in the National Guard and his daughter, my niece, is in the Air Force.
    May God bless all of them and may God bless our country and all who have served to preserve our freedom.

  3. Gail B says:

    Wow, Jeff! Powerful audio!

    My grandmother told me about her grandfather, Isaac Smith, who served in F 44 NC CSA from Montgomery County, NC. She was very proud of him, but she did not know how he died–only “of disease.” I’m not even sure she knew where he was buried.

    When I did the research to connect my blood kin up the line to him for UDC membership, I learned from the Internet that he is in Lynchburg, VA, City Cemetery. The curator of the cemetery emailed me a photocopy of the undertaker’s handwritten burial record for Isaac. Isaac died in Hospital 13 on October 17, 1863, and was 6’2″ tall.

    Another site showed me his military muster records. One said that he died of “scorbutus,” or scurvy, a lack of Vitamin C, and made me wonder if my great-great-grandfather might have even starved to death.

    The marker at Lynchburg is stark. A white marble marker says, “I.S. F 44 NC CSA”. A map on the Internet shows the location of his grave–it’s in the front section and near the front edge of the cemetery. I don’t have a picture of it, though.

    The point of all this is that, although there is no Wall with his name on it, the photocopies of the very information has made me feel closer to my gr-gr-grandfather.

    His brothers went to war with him; some came back, one did not. There are Woodliefs all over the other side of the family who served. I don’t know how they stood it.

    I read in a letter that a soldier in the War Between the States was going to write a diary of his time in the war but wrote his sister that what he was seeing was too horrible for folks back home to know about.

    We are not so naive as to think that times of war have so drastically changed that death is now less emotionally painful to our veterans who saw their buddies die, even as they gave their lives to save others in their units.

    My uncle served in WWII. He was separated from his unit in Germany. He got shot in the side of his head–it went in his cheek and out his mouth, taking a tooth with it! I feared for his life when I was a kid and HATE WAR because of it to this day.

    When I wrote for the NC newspaper, I used to collect military addresses for those in service and put them in the newspaper so that the folks back home could write to them. And, write to them they DID! It was fun for me to take pictures of their family members and mail them to the relative in service. Sometimes I could put a story in the paper about a son or daughter and mail the newspaper to them.

    Connection with family is important to the soldier on active duty. Connection is just as important to the family.

    Remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom is every bit as important.

    Thank you, all of you who are in the service; and thank you for all who died for us while protecting our freedom. Thank you for your valiant service.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To All who have served AND their families who do as much serving through bearing up and by supporitng their families, THANK YOU.

    I think of you often, not just on special days, and i encourage more families to make it more of your life than certain days out of the week. Lets all show love and respect regularly and through our actions show that we really DO care.

    every family can find a way, even if its only making sure that you say sometihng positive to your children whenever you see an opportunity to do so and tie it in with our service people. you can work on a project on a monthly basis – - it can be something you do as a family or a single person – - but do it monthly – - could be as simple as sending a card to anyone of our military… it could be a once a month when you drive to your local area and offer to do something for someone there… you can visit a hospital and offer to talk with someone for an hour… you will be amazed at how just a little effort makes such a huge difference.

    Thank you Jeff for an opportunity to say Thanks. We see your effort from time to time and we know your heart and appreciate you so very much too.

  5. ForMySons says:

    “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

    – George Washington

  6. Gail B says:

    Every time I’ve come to these two posts (yours and Rick’s), I’ve cried.

    It is truly a crying shame, that people have to die, that families have to be torn apart, in order that power-hungry predators be fought off.

    Kinda makes one wonder about our own governmental officials, doesn’t it? It’s not our government that is sick; it’s the “rulers.” We the People are SUPPOSED to be in the driver’s seat!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dateline-Dayton Ohio VA Cemetary. Saturday. Thousands of Boy and Girl Scouts put a flag at each of the 35,000 graves in about 25 minutes. The graves include my late wife (USAF Nurse Captain) and my new bride’s late husband (USAF Chaplain Major). Me? USAF Colonel Fighter Pilot who led my Boy Scouts in doing this for 20 years.

  8. Linda says:

    Did anyone see this article on foxnews.com? “Obama Urges Americans to Honor Veterans on Memorial Day.” (If not, go to foxnews.com and you’ll find it.) Would somebody please teach this imbecile the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day??!!!! What a . . . . . . (I’ll bite my tongue).

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Saunders and Mr. Beck.

    I served for almost 26 years, during Vietnam until the late 1980′s. Saw many different designs placed on the military by different Presidents. Remember the Cuban crisis, cold war and Vietnam. Am very concerned the path we are now pointed toward and if they really have any plans. Am very concerned for my son an 18 year veteran, presently serving and where he will see duty. He has served in Iraq, Guam, Germany, Alaska and now in the states.

    Thanks

  10. Anonymous says:

    “A Veteran is someone who in his life wrote a blank check made payable to The USA for an amount ‘up to and including my life.’” unknown

    RIP CPT Bruce Hays. This is your first Memorial Day but you will be remembered for many to come. May God Bless your widow and 5 children.

  11. Anonymous says:

    An immigrant to this great country, who raised his hand twice to defend our Constitution – the first when I enlisted, and the second a few years later when I received my citizenship in uniform.

    I lost the land of my birth to the communists – I’ll be damned if I sit by and watch me lose my new country to the socialists.

    Keep up the good work!

    An American by Choice.

  12. Gail B says:

    Sarah, a long-time friend, telephoned this morning. I read her Rick’s piece and described the photos to her. It was all I could do to keep tears from my eyes and my voice clear as I read to her.

    Then, I read yours and let her listen to Glenn Beck’s essay with the phone on speaker.

    Later, I went to Sarah’s for the afternoon. I asked her if she cried earlier. She replied, “What do you think?” I told her I thought she did and that I could hear her over the phone. “I did cry,” she said. “All those men and women died, just so that we could enjoy our lives, our liberty, and our freedom.”

    I just wanted you to know, Jeff, that this has been one of the most meaningful, sobering Memorial Days of my entire life. I feel as though I have been united with my ancestors.

    Thank you and Rick very much.

  13. Anonymous says:

    American by Choice:

    Thank you, thank you, for serving our country! I wish more brave people and your stories could be broadcast far and wide…the people that are letting this happen, and even encouraging it, obviously have never lived under socialism or communism. Boy, are they in for a harsh reality?

    Have a great and restful day!

    Lisa in TX

  14. Anonymous says:

    My father was a Canadian soldier, and while Monday is a day to commemorate American soldiers, my father fought alongside many of your fathers and brothers in Korea, breathed the same hot, blood-, oil- and sweat-filled air, dodged the same bullets, ate the same C-rations and shared in the same camaraderie. Luckily, my father made it back from the war, married his sweetheart and raised a family of three before he died. He cannot express the gratitude I feel for his twenty years of military service alongside his brothers in arms from your country, so I hope my few words here can do so on his behalf. Thank You, American Soldiers, on behalf of my Canadian Forces dad!

  15. Gail B says:

    Thank you, Anonymous at 8:42 a.m., for the information about your Canadian dad.

    Rest assured that Americans appreciate this Canadian’s service and protection as well.

    And, I am sorry for your loss; I know how that feels.

  16. La Muse Poetique says:

    My family hasn’t been in America long enough to have someone serve. (We don’t even have an American born member of our immediate family yet!)

    But my grandfather and great-grandfather served in WWII fighting the Japanese.

  17. vcw39 says:

    Many years ago when my parents were still living they had pictures of all their ‘boys’ hanging on the wall. These were pictures taken when we were in basic training. All 5 of us served in the US Army at some time and place. They also had a picture of our brother-in-law who served in the Air Force for over 20 tears. One of my sister-in-laws recently retired from the Air Force and there were others who also served in my family.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m thinking this Memorial Day of my sister’s fiance stationed right now in South Korea. Please keep Corey in your prayers.

  19. Alex - Ms Manners212 says:

    Years ago, while studying about the 60′s in school, I asked my father, a Vietnam vet who volunteered and served for two tours, why he would risk his life when he was treated so poorly upon return.

    He told me….”as an American, it is my job to defend all Americans, no matter what they believe…they have the right to be wrong.”

    I try to remember his words during these trying times when Republican vets are called “potential right wing extremists” and the traditional values of Americans are being marginalized.

  20. Jan says:

    To all previous, current and future veterans – thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that has been and will be sacrificed in order to grant us our earthly freedoms and safety. Thank you also to the families of our military. Theirs is a tough job and requires much bravery as well.
    There are many family members and friends who have fought in wars or served in the military. A few listed here: my father, my father-in-law, my uncle, numerous cousins, numerous ancestors, and friends too numerous to list. Some saw war, others worked to secure our safety on a daily basis without seeing war. All made sacrifices for their country and also for me. “Thanks” does not come close to expressing the gratitude. I went to Boston about seven months ago and visited the North Bridge and was reminded that freedom comes at a great cost. It comes from the blood shed by brave men and women. Everyone is affected by war. The husbands or wives left behind to carry on in the absence or left widowed. The children left without a parent or parents or orphaned. The businesses that lose employees and others must step up and fill those places. What is gained by their service is too valuable to put a price on.
    I try to remember our veterans and our soldiers frequently trying not to rely solely on holidays specifically designed for that purpose. Every day that I take breath is a gift from God and from the men and women who serve.
    Additionally, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have gone before us. In reverence to my mother I mention her now. Thank you mom for your untiring work in raising me to be the person I have become. While not a soldier, you were a warrior in our household. You have been gone for seven years now and there are still times I wish I could pick up the phone and tell you about something that had happened. I look forward to seeing you in Heaven at my chosen time.

  21. Anonymous says:

    My brother was a retired Marine and served two tours in Vietnam. He passed away almost 5 years ago after a farming accident. I miss him and am thankful for all he did for his country.
    I am also reminded of two gentlemen from my church who have since gone on to their reward in Heaven. They were both prisoners of war and survived The March Of Bataan. Thousands died during the march and the things the ones who lived were subjected to was so hideous that it could never be erased from their memories.
    I remember Bland talking to our youth group and telling them if a soldier dropped to his knees or fell during the march he would be killed on the spot by bayonet. His friend Cecil was already sick and weak when the 98 mile march began so Bland carried him on his back during a large part of the march.
    When they passed through villages people would throw rice or spit on them. Once Bland said he was so weak and dehydrated that he didn’t know if he could take another step but he knew he and Cecil would be killed. He said he just closed his eyes and cried out to God, all the time he could feel rice hitting his body. All of a sudden he felt something in his hands and as he opened his palms their was a mound of sald in each one. He lowered Cecil to the ground and they both licked the salt. He cried out and thanked God for this miracle.

    He told stories about some of the guards making fun of them for quoting scriptures or praying. Bland told our kids don’t ever let anyone tell your God isn’t real because I know He is the only reason I am able to stand here and talk to you today.

    God bless all those who have gone on to their rewards and for being the reason our Country is the greatest on the face of the earth.

    Sally

  22. Dee says:

    To American by choice and the Canadian son, thank you so much.

  23. Gail B says:

    A retired military man sent me this message with heartwarming story from Bangor, Maine:

    “This is a super story!

    “My Guard Company landed at Bangor, ME in May 2004 on our way home. We landed at 4AM. We were NOT expecting anything but an empty terminal.

    “WERE WE WRONG!

    “There were about 20 people, many WWII and Korea vets that rolled out the red carpet to us. Everything was open! They had cell phones for us to use to call home. I didn’t. That was too darned early to wake up my parents. I let others call.

    “It was so unexpected and it was so warm. Gail, we knew we were home. Home in the USA!

    “Thanks Bangor!” (signed Bill G.)

    Here’s the link to the story about the wonderful folks in Bangor:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/05/24/a_touch_of_home/?page=full

  24. Lynn says:

    My grandfather served in WWII, Pacific theatre, as a surgeon on the hospital ship U.S.S. Consolation. Before that, he had a couple of other ships shot out from under him. He retired with the rank of Captain.

    My father (his son) served 20 years in the Marine Corps Reserve. The stories he tells about their training would curl your hair. GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES MARINES.

    Two years ago, a friend of ours (Commander in the Navy) volunteered for a stint in Afghanistan, doing intelligence work. On the day he was supposed to leave, he had reserved a spot in a troop transport truck, to get him to the airport. He found out he could leave earlier, so he took an earlier truck. The one he was originally reserved for was blown up by an IED and I think two servicemen were killed. He got home safely to his wife & 3 kids, and didn't tell his wife about it for several months.

  25. Lynn says:

    Famous WWI poem:

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D.
    1872-1918

  26. whats_up says:

    Today I remember both of my Grandfathers who fought in WW2. One in Europe, one in the Pacific. I am thankfull of their sacrafice so long ago.

  27. Anonymous says:

    When I was a kid, my brother and I used to spend weekends at Grandma’s house. We slept in a spare room in the attic, waking up to the smell of Grandma cooking breakfast – bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits, etc. – mm, mm, good! After all these years, I can still close my eyes and smell her cooking. I sure miss her.

    Half of the attic was used for storage and we loved to explore. The greatest treasure of all was an old chest filled with WWII memorabilia – Military medals, patches, German dagger, worn out old Luger, photographs, and many dozens of old letters.

    At first we were only attracted to the letters because of the foreign postage stamps, but eventually that led to reading them (with Grandma’s permission of course). Most were addressed to her, from older brothers, uncles, etc. Some of the names we knew, some we did not – Grandma explained why. As we later came to realize, the content of those letters was the real treasure in the attic. Each and every letter clearly composed to provide comfort to family, assuring that all was well and that they’d be home soon. Each letter was proudly written – no whining, no complaining, no regrets – just love of family, love of Country and confidence in their ability to finish the job. Today, I remember reading those letters with Grandma. I remember the tears in her eyes – some sorrow, but mostly tears of pride. Thank you Grandma, for letting me share that pride with you then – and again now, as I prepare to share the same with your Great-Great-Grandson.

    God bless all who have served and God bless their families.

  28. Linda says:

    Thank you all for your stories and your families’ sacrifices. I am humbled and grateful on this most honorable day of memorial.

  29. MaryAlice says:

    My grandfather served in WWI and WWII, Army Major, my Dad a WWII Navy man, and my brother an Air Force Vietnam Vet, Son in Law now in the Marines served in Iraq. The family has served their country since the American Revolution. We are proud of their service and sacrifices for our country and remember their love of God, Family and the United States of America.

  30. Bodenzee says:

    Linda,

    Obama is just a puppet, a Teleprompter reader. It’s his handlers who are so under educated that they don’t know the difference between Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day.

  31. Evan K says:

    I leave this comment in honor of my friend Mike Kashkoush. He served in the Marine Corps as a counter-intelligence expert and was killed in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

    He will never be forgotten. Happy memorial day to all and thanks to those who serve or have served our country.

  32. darkleo462 says:

    ” Obama Golfs on Memorial Day, AWOL from 3 PM National Moment of Remembrance?
    President Barack Obama hit the links after marking his first Memorial Day as commander in chief.

    The president’s motorcade took him to Fort Belvoir in Virginia, reportedly to golf with Marvin Nicholson.

    Nobody knew exactly what Obama was doing at 3 p.m. during the National Moment of Remembrance he called for.”

  33. Linda says:

    Bodenzee, you’re correct; but he should at least be familiar with what he’s supposed to read ahead of time. If he did, and he has any knowledge at all about this country, he would have known that I agree with you, but then again I stand by my stance that he’s an imbecile. Perhaps not the article that this post belongs under, but my rage is only fueled by my respect for the sacrifices of those who have posted herein.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I am a little late for this post, but wanted you to know about the military history of my family. My father served in the Army-Air Corps in Africa and England during WWII. While stationed in England, he was walking to his barracks when a Flying Fortress failed to take off and crashed landed hitting the very spot my father was about to enter. He and several other men attempted to rescue several of the men on board the plane who survived. After also checking in the barracks my father was warned to get away from the plane as it was fully loaded with fuel and about to explode. He ran away from the area, but was still knocked flat by the explosion. We never realized he actually went to France to celebrate the victory there until he was close to death. My father stayed in the Air Force reserves serving 26 years before retiring. My father Robert J. Evans passed away January 4, 2006 and is buried in Arlington cemetary. His brother Jack who is still alive served in the Pacific in the Army during WWII. Continuing the tradition, my brother Michael Evans is currently in the U. S. Army reserves and recently completed his second tour overseas – the first in Bosnia and the most recent in Iraq. My brother’s son Bruce was just commissed in the USAF. My significant other David served in the USAF for 24 years and flew in the B-52 completing numerous missions over Viet Nam during that war. I thank all of them for their service and for their future service. God bless them all!

    Linda Banks

  35. Gail B says:

    Linda Banks–

    Your war stories, and those of others who have shared, make me feel a bit apologetic to our country.

    My father wanted to serve in WWII but was turned down because of a nerve problem with his feet. He joined the National Guard instead. His brother is the one who had shrapnel knock a tooth out through his mouth (he was one of the “Battle Babies” of the 44th. My uncles on my mother’s side never spoke about military service, so I don’t know about them (however, I’m going to call my only surviving uncle and ask him).

    My daddy’s brother died several years ago. Other than him and my first and second husbands, I don’t know of family members who served in wars of my lifetime. The rest of the family consisted of girls.

    Therefore, “my” war heroes in the family are mainly in the War Between the States and the American Revolution. But I have no apologies for the many in the family for their service.

    I have fought back tears all weekend for the many thousands of brave and dedicated military personnel who died that we might enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. What they witnessed before they died pains me to think about, and it brings to the forefront my fear for my uncle’s safety during WWII.

    And, thank you, everyone, for bringing your stories to Jeff’s site.

    Jeff, that was a brilliant idea, to provide a place for the stories. I realize that there were other children (along with wives, siblings, and other family members) who shared the same fear that I did. It really helps to have a place where we can share this pent-up emotion and deal with it.

  36. Still a Patriot says:

    Hi Jeff -
    I am enjoying these tributes so much. I especially loved the story about Grandma's attic.
    My mother's family had many military men. My grandfather served as a Captain in the Cavalry. My father was in the Army during WWII working as a mechanic & my stepdad served in the Pacific. My oldest brother was a marine & the next in line served in the Navy, stationed on the Oriskany during Vietnam.
    I remember Daddy taking us to the Memorial Day & 4th of July parades every year, & even as a child getting choked up as the flag was carried by & everyone saluted or put their hands over their hearts. Will this generation of parents instill these values in their children? I hope & pray they will.
    Susan

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