Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or military action. (H/T - Wikipedia)
I posted the facts about this holiday because far too many people think it is the unofficial start of Summer. Ironically, this day should be celebrated in an appropriate manner; a manner that has nothing to do with barbecues, beaches, and belly shirts. Rather, everyone should take some time out of their day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country.
We should remember heroes like Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon (Somalia):
Gordon and his Delta Force sniper teammates Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart and Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings who were providing sniper cover from the air, requested to be dropped at the second crash site in order to protect the four critically wounded crew, despite the fact that large numbers of armed, hostile Somalis were converging on the area.
Once on the ground, Gordon and Shughart, armed with only their personal weapons and sidearms, had to fight their way to the location of the downed Blackhawk. By this time more Somalis were arriving who were intent on either capturing or killing the American servicemen. When they reached Super Six Four, Gordon and Shughart extracted the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant and the other crew members from the aircraft, and established defensive positions around the crash.
Despite having inflicted heavy casualties against the Somalis, the two Delta snipers were too outnumbered and outgunned. Their ammunition nearly depleted, Gordon and Shughart finally were killed by Somali gunfire. It is believed that Gordon was first to be fatally wounded. His teammate Shughart retrieved Gordon's CAR-15 assault rifle and gave it to Durant to use. Shortly after, Shughart was killed and Durant was taken alive. (H/T - Wikipedia)
We should remember people like James P. Fleming (Vietnam):
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Fleming (then 1st Lt.) distinguished himself as the Aircraft Commander of a UH-1F transport Helicopter. Capt. Fleming went to the aid of a 6-man special forces long range reconnaissance patrol that was in danger of being overrun by a large, heavily armed hostile force. Despite the knowledge that 1 helicopter had been downed by intense hostile fire, Capt. Fleming descended, and balanced his helicopter on a river bank with the tail boom hanging over open water. The patrol could not penetrate to the landing site and he was forced to withdraw.
Dangerously low on fuel, Capt. Fleming repeated his original landing maneuver. Disregarding his own safety, he remained in this exposed position. Hostile fire crashed through his windscreen as the patrol boarded his helicopter. Capt. Fleming made a successful takeoff through a barrage of hostile fire and recovered safely at a forward base. Capt. Fleming's profound concern for his fellowmen, and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country. (H/T - cmohs.org)
We should remember people like Charles Barger (World War I):
Learning that 2 daylight patrols had been caught out in No Man's Land and were unable to return, Pfc. Barger and another stretcher bearer upon their own initiative made 2 trips 500 yards beyond our lines, under constant machine gun fire, and rescued 2 wounded officers. (H/T - cmohs.org)
Frankly, we should remember the sacrifices made by every member of our armed forces, past and present, living and dead. They have earned our admiration and respect.
Thank you all for your service.