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Reverence, gratitude befit Memorial Day

  • Published
  • By Gen. Bruce Carlson
  • AFMC Commander
Remembering and honoring our fellow servicemembers who have given their lives to preserve freedom and democracy is always foremost in my thoughts each Memorial Day, but my sense of reverence became more intense when the war on terror and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq began. This very day, brave men and women are demonstrating their commitment to the United States and our democratic way of life as they engage in combat and other military operations far from home.

In 1971 Memorial Day was declared a national holiday. While a weekend of picnics and recreation with friends and family is valuable, let’s not overlook the true purpose of Memorial Day. Take time to remember our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters who bravely served and died protecting our freedoms.

I encourage each of you to do something special this Memorial Day weekend to honor those who have died for America’s principles. You might go online and learn more about Memorial Day. You could visit the library and read about what military members endured in combat throughout our nation’s history. Tell your children about the sacrifices made by your parents or grandparents during previous times of war. Visit a cemetery and decorate the grave site of a fallen relative or friend. Attend one of the many observances that take place in small towns and major cities throughout America. Through it all, remember to celebrate life and the choices you have in living it because that is what these brave Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen died to protect. 

Vicki and I wish each of you a blessed Memorial Day weekend.  Thank you for your dedication and service to our great nation. I am proud to serve with you!