Sacrifices make holiday more meaningful

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert Rostedt
  • 908th Airlift Wing
What is Memorial Day?

To many, it is the beginning of summer, or a day off from work. For others, is a chance to have a barbeque with family. As I get ready to leave Iraq, Memorial Day has taken on a new meaning for me.

It will remind me of the men and women of our military who have made such great sacrifices for our country. It will remind me of the soldier who was so badly burned we had to cut down the sides of both his legs so his body could have room to swell, and of his buddy who risked his own life to pull him out of his burning vehicle.

It will remind me of the young Marine who went home missing both of his legs he lost in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast, and the many others like him that went home missing arms and legs. It will remind me of the young lieutenant we knew was brain dead from his injury, but we still struggled not just to keep him alive, but to get him well enough make the trip so that he could Germany where his family could be with him and he could die with dignity.

It will remind me of the young Marine we tried in vain to keep alive, even after giving him enough blood to replenish his entire body five times, and the sorrow I felt when he died. It will remind of the sacrifices that all of the men and women who came through our hospital have made for our country.

This Memorial Day, I want you to enjoy the day, but take a moment to raise your glass in their honor or have a moment of silence. Remember, freedom is never free and they are paying the price for freedom.

God bless America.