Saturday, May 24, 2008

Question of the Week - Memorial Day

This week’s column is dedicated to the memory of those who have served their country. There are two major holidays in the United States that commemorate and recognize those with military service – Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Veterans Day, also known as ‘Armistice Day’ is held on the 11th day of the 11th month, to thank our nations’ veterans.

Armistice Day was the symbolic end of World War I – the War to End all Wars, and was observed on the 11th minute of the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, or when the Allies and Germany ceased hostilities on the Western Front in 1918. Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954, by an act of Congress.

Memorial Day or ‘Decoration Day’ began in 1866 and was meant to honor Union Soldiers who died serving their country. After World II, recognition of Memorial Day became more widespread, and in 1968, the United States Congress decreed Memorial Day a national holiday.

For myself, Memorial Day also has a personal meaning.

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 1144-05
November 03, 2005
Media Contact: Marine Corps Public Affairs - (703) 614-4309 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Major Gerald M. Bloomfield II, 38, of Ypsilanti, Michigan
Captain Michael D. Martino, 32, of Fairfax, Virginia

Both Marines died November 2, 2005, when their AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed while flying in support of security and stabilization operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq. Both Marines were with Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, their unit was attached to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II MEF (Forward).

The crash is currently under investigation.

I was very much taken aback by my good friend’s death. Jerry or “Beav” was an outstanding pilot, a good man, and an amazing friend.

Ultimately, all wars are wrong, and we can never replace those who gave their lives. But we CAN honor the memory of those who served, and actively create a world of Peace.

Beav, we won’t soon forget you. I know you’re up there somewhere, watching over us, and smiling. I thank you for your friendship and your integrity. You are missed!

Semper Fidelis,
Omar W. Rosales

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