May fallen veterans rest in peace this weekend

Published 8:30 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

By: Jimmy Terrell

From the very beginning, they have been a part of our great American history.

They have lived with us, protected us and died for us.

They lie under the depths of the world’s great oceans, between our shores and in sacred foreign soils around the world.

The names of many remain only known to God. Not one, however, has been forgotten as they lie in their eternal sleep.

They were soldiers, men and women from all walks of life. Some were fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends. In the end, each offered the ultimate sacrifice.

Nearly 1.3 million of America’s sons and daughters have perished in combat defending our freedom and the freedom of others around the world. Another 40,000 remain unaccounted for and are listed as Missing in Action, presumed to be deceased.

For some, death came at the North Bridge and Valley Forge. Brothers, fathers and husbands died at Gettysburg and Atlanta. We buried others at Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, and a few years later at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea.

We brought home the remains of our veterans from the Ashau Valley, Hamburger Hill and years later from strange places called Fallujah, Marjah, and the Takur Ghar Mountain. Their bodies now lay at peace in American soil far away from a battlefield.

Our soldiers have fought around the world, not to build an empire, but to simply provide a better way of life for those in foreign countries and in the fight against those who would harm us and our homeland.

Our fallen warriors have presented us with a legacy unmatched by other countries and armies. They have forged a bond between the hearts and souls of the past and have answered the bugle’s call in every conflict, fighting the good fight.

Many were young men and women robbed of their innocence, young loves and lives. Others were parents and grandparents who simply answered a call in order to keep the dreams of this country and her people alive.

As soldiers, sailors and airmen they witnessed things no man or woman should have to see, from the loss of friends to concentration camps, the blood stained beaches of the Pacific and currently the mountainous deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.

They have known filth, cold, hunger and loneliness. They have experienced pain far beyond what most mortals will ever taste or know. They have marched from sunrise to sunset to do battle. General Douglas MacArthur, speaking of American soldiers of his time, said many marched “…to the judgment seat of God.”

Let us be thankful that American soldiers have always been resolute in their tasks and spirit. They have  fought demons and evil, honoring the flag that our country has wrapped around their caskets more than a million times.

Each shared his or her blood, sweat and tears. Each paid the ultimate price.

Our veterans lie quietly now in manicured cemeteries around the world and here at home, honored by a country and her people for their service and sacrifice.

Perhaps, their souls stir for a moment each May with the passing of the flag and a lonely bugle call in the distance before they return to their spectral sleep, void of cannon fire, pain, and forever glad the battle done.

Their colors belong to a younger generation, though their arms are stacked, the day forever gone.

They understood the words, “Duty, Honor and Country”.

Their service is complete. They have passed the torch and the task to new generations.

May their souls rest in God’s peace!