Memorial DayMemorial Day is a day many people throughout the United States may have forgotten why we observe it as a national holiday.
By: Maj. David “Blade” Michaud, USAF, Pine Journal
Memorial Day is a day many people throughout the United States may have forgotten why we observe it as a national holiday. Many men and women have served our great country for the past 150 years, from the Civil War to the present, and they have given the ultimate sacrifice. In support and defense of our Constitution, members of the armed forces have given their lives to protect this nation. Depending on the conflict, not all airmen, sailors, or soldiers may have believed in the conflict they fought in but they did what their country asked of them. Remembering these soldiers, their sacrifices, and what they have done for the United States is what every person needs to reflect upon during Memorial Day. Granted, most of us will plan for a weekend full of festivities. Remember what Memorial Day is about and do not forget that there are still many military members risking their lives every day.
I find it truly amazing that in today’s military, roughly 2.7 million people serve in the active duty and reserve forces. Many of those people joined after 9/11 when persistent conflict became a norm for the United States. The reason I find this fact amazing is because our force is an all-volunteer force. Everyone who has enlisted or been commissioned in the military has volunteered. They have made the choice to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
There are many individuals or groups throughout our communities who may not agree with the way situations have been handled by our leaders but do not disrespect the airman, sailor, or soldier who wears the uniform. I have seen groups protesting at military funerals on the news and I have been completely appalled. To disrespect the foundation of service that has made our country great is a dishonor to everyone who has given their life in support of the United States. It is hard to believe that they quickly forget the soldiers they are protesting gave them the right to protest because of their service. Soldiers of the current conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan are doing the exact same thing as soldiers of the Revolutionary War – ensuring freedom and the rights of a sovereign nation while defending the rights of those who are unable to do it themselves.
I am astounded at how quickly we forget the tragedy that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. You may not have forgotten the incident but you may have forgotten the feeling that you had when the tragedy took place. The sense of patriotism and national pride that was sparked by those tragic events has faded from memory over the past nine years and has now been replaced by apathy for today’s military force and the way our leadership has conducted itself. Remember, our military force continues to protect the U.S. from those same organizations and rogue nations that continue to threaten the U.S. and our Allies every day.
I have been a pilot in United States Air Force for 14 years. I have had the opportunity to serve my country in combat in the Middle East and have spent more time training pilots to conduct combat by enhancing their skills. Currently, I am furthering my Air Force career with an education at the Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The professionalism that I see on a daily basis from all the soldiers who have served recently in Iraq or Afghanistan is remarkable. Many of my classmates have deployed three or four times. Each of these deployments last about a year in a combat zone and they are prepared for more. These are the individuals who risk their lives so you don’t have to. A sense of courage, honor and pride runs deep in the walls that surround our classrooms and I am proud to serve this great nation alongside them.
The veterans who have served and have perished for this great nation should never be forgotten. Have fun this weekend. Enjoy the sun and the burgers from the grill. However, remember it is Memorial Day weekend – a time to reflect and remember all the men and women who have given their lives in defense of United States and what it stands for throughout the world. Freedom.
Major David “Blade” Michaud has been in the United States Air Force for 14 years and is from Cloquet.