As I was going about my duties today, my mind wandered to the upcoming Armed Forces Day (May 17th) and Memorial Day (May 26th). I served in the US Army from 2000-2004 and was deployed to Iraq in 2003.
Even today, I can still experience the sights and smells of that country. I have seen humanity at its absolute best and worst. I know all too well of the sacrifices we made each day in that very hostile and unpredictable place. Many days we drank hot water, ate cold food, and baked in the 110 degree sun in full gear that we didn’t dare take off. I remember thinking of everyone back home in the states, which seemed a million miles away. We often wondered, as we looked at the moon and stars—Is anyone thinking of us? How are my kids doing? Am I going to make it home alive?
We all were wounded in some way: some physical, some mental, and some both. For a soldier, the war never ends. You often wonder if you did the right thing or what you could have done better. 4,486 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, dads and moms made the Ultimate Sacrifice for their country. Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, from Sun Valley Idaho, was taken hostage on June 30th 2009 in south eastern Afghanistan and he remains in captivity to this day.
At this very moment, thousands of your fellow countrymen stand guard to protect you and your freedom. From Fort Bragg, NC to Afghanistan and to the navy ships at sea—they are all ready to do what is necessary to ensure you can sleep peacefully tonight. No matter what you may think of the government or the conflicts we are in, or were in, remember someone somewhere is looking at the clock, saying prayers, and has a steady eye on the front door in anticipation of seeing their loved one return home. So take a moment on the 17th or 26th to attend a memorial service or hang a new flag outside your house, because it means the world to us soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines when we see people stop and remember that all gave some and some gave all. If you see a veteran or a uniformed member of the military, stop them in their tracks and thank them for what they do. You never know what that may do for them. Some have never heard that.
-Jim Schrock, LCS Shipping