Memorial Day. A day of celebration. A day of reflection. For some, it’s a day off from work, time with family and friends, maybe with no cognizance of what the day means to our nation. For others, it’s a day to remember those men and women no longer with us, those who gave their lives so that we may have ours. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, cousins, nieces and nephews, best men and bridesmaids, teachers, and that kid from the 8th grade who never fit in until he stepped onto the battlefield that morning…
Who is being remembered by the SOFREP community?
Blake Miles will be thinking of Jeremy Wright. He writes, “Jeremy and I were in the same SERE class in the summer of 2004. Not only were we in the same class, but we ended up on the same evasion team, which meant we spent some long tired hours together, along with the rest of our small team…The day of Jeremy’s memorial service was a paradigm shift for us all. From what I knew, it was one of the first casualties of a close friend anyone had experienced. I was shaken up. Until that point, I made it a point to show no apparent weakness around my teammates. That all flew out the window, particularly after they played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.
A SOFREP reader writes, “There was a loud “Bang” in the confined space and with a look of shock, my dad’s friend slumped. He was so distracted that he either forgot to check the chamber or he did it in the wrong order and chambered a live round.”
BK will pause to think of Pararescue Chief Master Sergeant Nicholas McCaskill. “I was greatly saddened to hear of the passing of my friend, PJ Chief Nick McCaskill. Nick was a true warrior… This is a huge loss for the PJ community, the Air Force, and the country. Nick’s family, friends, and teammates came together last weekend to remember him in Tucson, AZ.”
Iassen Donov will pause to think of Jason Dahlke: “Just a month after graduating from UCF he decided to enlist in the military rather than seek a commission as an officer. He knew he wanted to be a Ranger and the path to the 75th Ranger Regiment is long and uncertain for many young Lieutenants, with very little guarantee. So in May 2004, Jason enlisted as an infantryman, and would later attend basic training, airborne school, and the Ranger Indoctrination Program out of Fort Benning, GA. He successfully passed the grueling standards of RIP in December of 2005, and was assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Ranger Battalion out of Savannah, GA.”
Cindy Campbell will think back on her brother, Navy SEAL Chris Campbell, who died in Afghanistan. Cindy writes: “I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to walk with an amazing group of wounded warriors in Chris’ memory. My brother’s last request takes on a new and personal meaning when I meet those who have benefited from the many programs and services offered by Wounded Warrior Project. For me, he lives on through each service member helped as a result of his final wish (100,000 people donate to WWP). So far, almost 2,000 people have contributed to help Chris with his final mission. To each of my friends and colleagues, THANK YOU, for being a part of his legacy and sharing his story.”
Former Navy SEAL Eric Davis would ask you to remember the 19 men who died on June 28, 2005, in Operation Red Wings: “19 of your personal warriors said “Where do you need me?” and 19 of these warriors gave their lives for us and our families. They stood up and left their families because they knew that no one else could. On June 28, 2005 they gave not just their lives, but also the lives of their families. For the families left behind, things didn’t end on June 28th, 2005. Things just began.”
Jack Murphy will remember MSG Jared Van Aalst: “I remember his voice clearly over the radio, night after night giving a countdown before door charges were detonated and our platoon raided terrorist hideouts. I remember conversations I had with him about knife making, about what Ranger Battalion was like when he was a Private in the 1990s, but mostly I remember his dedication to the Platoon and making sure that we were the very best at what we did.”
As former US Army Ranger Peter Medvedovsky writes on The Loadout Room, in a post you’ll read on Monday:
“But what no one will forget during all of this, is why we are there together. To pay a tribute to those who gave up everything, so that we may continue to enjoy our lives. That is what they gave their lives for. So that we could have ours. And that is something to celebrate. That we are part of a group of men that would do that for each other. And we celebrate to remember them and what they did for the rest of us. Because you had better believe they are all drunk off their asses in Valhalla, and have been since they got there via Valkyrie insertion.”
And finally, a SOFREP reader writes, in a very touching note to her father: “Yesterday, in the Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery as we said goodbye to Dad, I found myself once again in a sea of bright white headstones, stretching in their perfect rows across the well tended grass. I can tell you I find that image peaceful and reassuring.
As poignant as the day was for us, and as uniform as those white headstones are, every single one of them represents a personal service to our country – whether someone who joined the military or a family member who supported them.
I don’t know every story to every headstone, who could? But when I see those long white rows, how endless they seem, I see a long chain of Americans who, one way or another, stepped up to the plate for our country. Row after row of volunteers. Every family’s story just as important as mine.
It is truly a humbling vision.”
All of us here at SOFREP, and we know this includes all of our readers, will spend a moment to remember Chris Kyle.
We ask you to visit us on Monday, May 26, for our small tribute to former Navy SEAL and SOFREP NSWC Editor, Glen Doherty.
Editor’s Note: SOFREP would like to share your stories with our readers. Please take a few minutes to write your story and share it with us here.
(Featured Image Courtesy: DVIDS)