Remembering Our Fallen This Memorial Day

Many towns across the nation have a big Memorial Day Parade followed by a time to remember our fallen military who gave their lives for our country. After my husband was in war, I looked at Memorial Day quite differently than I looked at it before he went off to war.

Life before combat seemed so carefree. Picnics, BBQs, the end of the school year, beginning of summer and the opening of the swimming pool in our backyard. Who else remembers those good times? Now that I am an adult and war has pledged our country for many years, Memorial Day is very different. It’s a time to reflect, a time to remember the sacrifices so many gave up for our freedom and protection.

My thoughts leading up to Memorial Day take me back to a time when our friends were being killed in war. A time when I didn’t know if my husband would make it home from war and a time where things were so uncertain and upside down. When the phone rang, my stomach would drop wondering if it would be someone in the FRG telling me that we had lost another one… or, that another one of our friends had been injured and was being sent home in pieces.

The kids missed their dad. They heard rumors from other kids who lived on our street that when dads go to war, they get killed. My kids cried themselves to sleep on more than one occasion. What’s worse is when you find out one of your friends lost a son, or a husband and they will never be able to hold that loved one again. You can only cry with them, and hold them. Tell them everything will be OK – but, sometimes I didn’t really believe that myself. I didn’t believe they would be OK. I didn’t know how they could be OK…. To this day, I ask myself questions like WHY, HOW… and I have thought so many things about war weren’t fair. At the same time, I know those who died were filled with courage. Putting their lives on the line so I wouldn’t have to.

Those. Brave. Souls.

I’d like to take a moment to write the names of those who served along side of my husband who were killed in combat during their August 2006-October 23, 2007 deployment to Iraq:

Cpt John Dennison

Cpt Rhet Shiller

SFC Benjamin Sebban

SGT Jason Swiger

SPC Jason Nunez

PFC Anthony White

PFC Orlando Gonzalez

CPT Jonathan Grassbaugh

SPC Ebe Emolo

SPC Levi Hoover

PFC Rodney McCandless

1LT Kevin Gaspers

SSG Kenneth Locker

SSG William Moore

SGT Randell Marshall

SGT Brice Pearson

SGT Michael Vaughn

SPC Michael Rodriguez

SPC Jerry Ryan King

PFC Garrett Knoll

SSG Timothy Cole

SSG Joan Duran

My junior high school BFF, Katie also lost her husband during that deployment – but her husband was in another location with another unit in Iraq.

William “Jack” Jackson

Please… DO celebrate your freedom this Memorial Day and please, continue on with your BBQs and picnics, but please do not forget to take time to remember our fallen and to teach your children about the real meaning behind Memorial Day.

To all of the families and friends of the fallen, my thoughts and prayers are with you today – and always.

Written by Patti on Thursday, May 25th, 2017

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