I just learned a few weeks ago that one of my distant relatives from my Mother’s family tree was killed during the Civil War, near the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania. After I heard that, I started thinking about the Arlington National Cemetery and all of the other Veteran’s Cemeteries. They remind us that several have put on the uniform and put their lives in danger so that others can have a chance at the American dream. The headstones in the cemetery usually designate their religion of choice. For me, when I visit the cemeteries, I first notice two things. I note when they were born and when they died. Most of the time, the age is under 30 years old. I always think about the realization that when I am having a bad day, some people don’t have a day at all.
When I think about it that way, driving home in a traffic jam doesn’t seem so bad at all.
Memorial Day is when we stop to remember our veterans and especially the courageous souls that gave their lives to support America and, more importantly, to prevent their battle buddies from getting killed on their missions. We honor those who came back but we should especially remember military men and women who gave everything and never returned. These people rest in several overseas cemeteries that honor our fallen. It is striking to see the number of service men and women buried in foreign lands, almost 125,000 souls resting in 25 burial cemeteries throughout world.
Congress established the American Battle Monuments Commission in 1923. The Executive Branch organization honors the service, achievement and sacrifice of the US Armed Forces. The commission establishes and maintains US military memorials, cemeteries and markers where the US Armed Forces has served since April 6, 1917.
Here is a list of the American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries the organization maintains along with other pertinent information.
I am a veteran and my wife is a veteran. My father is a Korean War veteran. Several of my family members are veterans. Several of my friends from all the services who served with me are no longer alive today. I miss them and I honor them every day. I honor and remember all of my Armed Forces brothers and sisters who gave their lives.