Categorized | Editorial

EDITORIAL: Remembering . . .

Memorial Day is originally known as ‘Decoration Day,’ the day is observed every year on the last Monday of May and unofficially marks the beginning of summer. A federal holiday, Memorial Day was first enacted to honor the lives of the soldiers of the Civil War but was later extended to include all the soldiers who died while in service of the U.S. Army. This day has now come to be a Day of Remembrance for all American Citizens in memory of those who have died. It is no longer limited to remembering soldiers who served America.

I could be wrong, but I think most people think of Memorial Day as remembering the men and women in the armed forces who died serving our country. Let’s not forget those who also put their lives in danger by reporting from war zones. I will never forget Correspondent Daniel Pearl who was brutally murdered while on assignment in Karachi, Pakistan in 2007. The reason I bring up Daniel Pearl is every so often I listen to Journalist Geraldo Rivera who has a talk show on the radio and who recently came back from an assignment in Iraq. Before he left to go to Iraq a woman called his radio show to try to talk him out of going. “You have a young child and why would you risk your life when you don’t have to?”

Rivera answered, “Even though it’s a crazy thing to do and my wife has misgivings about me going, it’s something I have to do.”

The reporters who are given assignments in war zones are awarded heavy security by our soldiers or our allies in the foreign countries, they also are at risk of being killed.

Wars affect everyone including other members of the military including dogs, horses, dolphins and many other animals used in combat. Over 4000 dogs served in Vietnam and saved over 10,000 lives of servicemen – a fact often unknown to people.

When we were doing research on Memorial Day we came across a story about a soldier from one of our allied countries who died along with his record breaking sniffer dog. The dog whose specialty was sniffing out explosives was responsible for helping the soldier discover 14 finds in 5 months. This team was so successful at uncovering so many explosives that their tour of duty was extended by a month. The soldier was shot dead in the war zone and his dog stayed by the body until medics arrived. The dog was so heartbroken by his master’s demise that the dog died shortly afterward from a seizure. The body of the soldier and his dogs ashes were returned home together.

The United States has a strictly all volunteer armed services which is why so many servicemen and women have to do numerous tours of duty. Some of these tours are in very volatile parts of the world. Although we pray for all of our military personnel, let’s say a special prayer for those who are serving in hostile environments. Every time they leave their loved ones to serve their country they know they may not come back whole – mentally or physically. The saddest part is when some of them do come back for one last time in a casket.

On this Memorial Day we will be remembering all who lost their lives serving their country. Let’s also say a special prayer for those families whose loved ones are missing in action and have no idea what happened to them. Hopefully one day their loved ones will be found so they could have peace of mind.

C.M.

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