Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 2005: Remember Our Heroes

As we observe Memorial Day this year, I would like to draw attention to some heroes that you may never have heard of or were reported in passing by the MSM. I would also like to personally thank each and every member of our armed forces for their service, sacrifice and dedication to preserving the freedom that we enjoy today. I pray that peace be granted to those who have fallen in course of their duty, comfort be given to those they have left behind, and let this nation remain humble so that no citizen ever forget the debt we owe them.

Patrick Donoghue of the Philadelphia Inquirer had a great column up Friday about remembering our heroes; the link is at the end of his suggestion.

On Memorial Day we honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price for being an American. Each deserves to be remembered, to be kept alive, for just a little longer. There are hundreds of thousands of them, and even the millions of us who are indebted cannot possibly say all of their names. But we can pick just one - from a history book, a news report, war memorial or grave marker - and say it aloud on Memorial Day. We can give it weight, relevance, life. We can say it while we're at the beach, at a barbecue, driving a car, or working around the yard. That one name may get us thinking about the freedoms we exercise but do not always cherish. And it may remind us that in this life, no hour can ever be too precious, no day too mundane. Source

These are some of the names that I will say aloud on this Memorial Day and their stories.

Some outside the Pacific Northwest may know the story of Sgt. Rafael Petralta. Sgt. Peralta was a Marine and as such participated in the assault on Fallujah back in November of 2004. As his team moved in to a house to clear it, Petralta was mortally wounded and the two Marines behind him were wounded as well. As he lay wounded and dying, a terrorist rolled a fragmentation grenade into the room near him and his fellow wounded Marines. Without a moment’s hesitation Petralta dove on the grenade smothering the blast with his body and saving the Marines behind his position from injury and possible death. From interviews with others in his squad, this type of selfless act was the very definition of Rafael Peralta’s life. God Bless.

The only Medal of Honor to be awarded for action in the Iraq War so far was given to Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith. On April 4th Sgt. Smith and his 15 combat engineers were tasked with setting up a roadblock just outside Saddam International Airport (now Baghdad International Airport) on the road to Baghdad. As he was deploying his men to fulfill their mission Iraqi troops moved in to oppose them. Shortly after 10am the engagement began and Sgt. Smith and his men found that they were faced around 100 Iraqi soldiers. As the firefight scaled up, Smith jumped on one of the unit’s M113 armored troop carriers and began firing at the advancing Iraqis with its 50 caliber machine gun. He slowed the Iraqi troops enough so that other members of his team could clear a tower that allowed the enemy to fire directly down into the courtyard occupied by his men. Sadly Sgt. Smith was killed by enemy fire just as the attack was repulsed. President Bush presented Sgt. Smith widow with the Medal of Honor on the one year anniversary of his bravery and death. God Bless.

During the Battle of Fallujah, the Marines of 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon, India Company paid a heavy price for their success against the terrorists of Iraq. During fierce action that dominated the battle this unit lost three great Marines, 2nd Lt. J.P. Blecksmith, Lance Cpl. Antoine Smith and Cpl Shane Kielion. Both men were killed as India moved into the city as the “tip of the spear”. Lt. Blecksmith was killed while hunting a sniper with the squad and Lance Cpl. Smith and Cpl. Kielion were killed in house to house fighting. God Bless.

Sadly less then a month ago we lost a local hero here in Phoenix, Arizona. On May 7th, 2005 Sgt. Michael A. Marzano was killed defending a hospital outside of Hadithah, Iraq by a suicide vehicle bearing an improvised explosive device. Sgt. Marzano was a member of the Marine Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. Sgt. Marzano had already completed a term of service as an active Marine and was discharged in May of 2003. He felt so compelled to help his country that he joined the Marine Reserves and volunteered for a tour in Iraq. Sgt. Marzano had been in Iraq since March of this year and was serving as a member of the 3-25 Weapons Company, working as part of the Mobile Assault Platoon (MAP) 7 responding to acts of terrorism and providing back up to Iraqi forces. God Bless.

While Memorial Day is meant to honor our military dead, I want to point out another group of soldiers that while they have not given their lives the sacrifice that they have made should not be overlooked. I am talking about the soldiers that want to return to active combat duty even after losing a limb in warfare. The men profiled in the piece I have linked to have worked their way back to where they are being granted their request to go back to Iraq or Afghanistan and fight alongside the men and women they left after being wounded. If anyone ever doubted the resolve of the American Military they need look no farther then these soldier to see what our men and women are capable of. God Bless and Good Luck.

As you enjoy the holiday wherever you are, please remember that that the freedom that we enjoy and that some abuse is bought and paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of brave men and women such as the ones listed above. Those are some of the names I will be saying aloud this Memorial Day. Below I have listed some of the charities that I either have donated to or worked with that help our men and women in the military. If you feel the call, please help any or all of them in whatever form you choose. Thank you and God Bless the United States. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day everyone.

Cool Our Troops

Any Soldier

America Supports You

Fisher House

Packages From Home


Cross-posted at The Wide Awakes

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