A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

I do not normally agree with Andy Rooney, but last night during his closing statement for 60 Minutes he made a powerful and accurate statement. I'll paraphrase it here. 'Those who died did not "give" their lives. Their lives were taken from them.'
That is a truth that only those who serve seem to understand. Nobody makes an "ultimate sacrifice". They are robbed of their future. Their potential is finished. Their future children will never be born. Everything they could have been, everything thing they could have done, every hope, every dream dies with them in the bloody mud of war. Nobody does that willingly, yet many still put on that uniform and go to other lands to fight for ideals they struggle to continue to believe in.
Honor the dead. Then thank a vet.
Don't forget what Memorial Day is all about.

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*Smith, Paul R.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant First Class, United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous wolfwalker said...

I've never thought "In Flanders Fields" was appropriate for Memorial Day, for it reminds me of the one war in recent history that was truly pointless: brought about by a minor assassination, fed by outdated alliances, fought using antiquated tactics and strategies, resulting in the largest number of meaningless deaths in battle of any war in human history. That's not the kind of thought I want to carry with me on this day.

I would rather think of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who did die for a worthy cause. Like the colonists who stuck it out at Valley Forge; the men of the Twentieth Maine who held the line at Little Round Top; the men of the Army of the Cumberland who stormed the heights of Missionary Ridge; the Marines who waded ashore at Tarawa and Peleliu and Iwo Jima; the sailors who set their destroyers against Japanese battleships at Leyte Gulf; the submariners who remain forever on patrol in their iron coffins; the Rangers who led the way into every major battle in Europe in 1944-45; the 101st Airborne who broke the German offensive in the Battle of the Bulge; the draftees who fought to stop communism in Korea; the men and women who went to war in 1991 and 2003 in the name of freedom for all people, everywhere, not just those who live inside the borders of the United States.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Porta's Cat said...

Those who died did not "give" their lives. Their lives were taken from them.'
That is a truth that only those who serve seem to understand.


Noble sacrifice is far from limted to those that have served in the military, anymore than cowardice is limited to those who did not serve.

Honor our veterans and those that "died for a cause", usually on foreign soil, on this day and any other.

But just as the military seems to "be forgotten" until there is a hot war somewhere, there are so damn many serving in the civilian sector, working jobs that "keep us safe" that people just assume "will be done" without ever recognizing the dangers associated with them.

8:13 AM  
Blogger 服從到只一 A.K.A: Sugar Cat said...

'Those who died did not "give" their lives. Their lives were taken from them.'

I have to sincerely agree with you on this... As I stated in my post as well..."my deepest respect to all the men and women who have served our country and lost their lives doing so...

Great post!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Jarubla said...

Digging through your archives and came across this one.

Hits home as this most recent Memorial day is only a bare two days old.

Thank you Xav for sharing this. Hope to hear more posts like this form you in the future. Your voice should not be stilled; your voice should continue on strong and constant. It helps others like me to remember, to be on our toes, and learn a thing or ten.

-Jay

9:04 PM  

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