Memorial Day, May we Remember

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On this Memorial Day we recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to this country. We sit here and not only mourn the loss of those who gave their lives but remember those who did. I took this a few years ago In Woodstock, Illinois. As the soldiers you see changing out the old flag with the new salute as the change is made, the Rifle was with the pair of boots, and the helmet and dog tags adorned it. This is a way to honor a fallen soldier in the battle field.This is called the Battlefield Cross this practice goes back to the Civil War possibly earlier. It was a way to mark the dead or fallen before they were removed from the battle field.

This one was raised on a memorial day vigil for a fallen soldier from the surrounding area. I never did read the dog tags on the rifle. I often wondered who it was. I wish I knew the man who gave his life for this country. My way of showing he was remembered was from this photo. It was later published on Vogue.It Photovogue.

We often forget those who watched their brothers fall on the battlefield and do not think what they watched, what they witnessed or how they felt at that very moment. They watched their brother in arms fall before them. They were possibly a friend or even family member at times. Soldiers looked out for each other as they even lay dying. Some would try to comfort them in their last moments as they drew their final breath.

I am sure I cannot imagine the pure horror as soldiers came off a troop transport and stormed a beach as German soldiers following their orders to open fire opened up their full arsenal on our soldiers.the pure horror as their friends fell and they had to move over them as they lay there dead. Bombs dropping, the beach being shelled from a distance by battleships to try to compromise enemy positions and destroy them. Bullets flying through the air, and grenades, and mortars exploding all around them. I really cannot imagine the sights the sounds or the screams. To me it was the ultimate sacrifice. these soldiers were out to stop a ruthless dictator who had his sights set on taking over the world.

Soldiers who have died during battle knew the ultimate price they had to possibly pay, and yet they enlisted to defend you and I. They had families to lets also not forget them, moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Uncles, and Aunts. Those people have had to deal everyday with the loss of their loved ones. They watched their family members leave for war knowing they may never see them again.

Memorial Day is not just about your backyard Barbecue, or that beer you hold in your hand. It is not about going out to the lake, or seeing how drunk you can get. Memorial Day is about recognizing those who have served and  gave their lives for our country defending our freedom. It is also about honoring the families of the fallen those who have had to watch as their loved ones casket was carried that last 15 feet, with an American Flag Draped over it. It is about the Mother, or the son daughter or father who stand and lay their head on the casket as they weep because their family gave their life. They gave their lives for their families, friends, and for us the strangers they never knew so that we could have our Freedom.

Today as you watch the parades, or the wreath being laid on the tomb of the unknown soldier on television. Please take a moment of silence and say a prayer no matter your religion. people of all different races and religions and sexual orientations gave their life to defend you. They defended you so that you could be with your family, and be there to honor them today.

Thank you to those who gave their lives,

Brian Andrews

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