We Hear You: On Memorial Day, Why Americans Don’t Forget to Remember

Editor’s Note: To help commemorate Memorial Day, we decided to share some of your comments responding to holiday pieces in recent years from Heritage Foundation national security expert James Jay Carafano and others.—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: Both my parents served in World War I, my brother and myself in World War II. I missed D-Day, but just by a few days (“Making Memorial Day Make a Difference“).

I am an old fart. I remember well the Great Depression as a teenager, working in a dairy and a saw mill and caddying on a private golf course, among other jobs, wherever we could find work.

As a soldier, I remember walking up a trail from the beach past Sainte-Mère-Église, seeing a burning Jeep with a body. Hearing the first sounds of the Germans’ 88 mm guns. Receiving our first mortar fire. And thinking this is madness.

Little did I know of the future: the hedgerows, Brittany, the run to the Rhine, the Ardennes, the death camps, the breakthrough at Saint-Lo, and more.

It does not seem possible now, but it actually happened. People in this country do not know how good they have it here. And in my mind, I see a country destroyed within by the ACLU, the courts, and our own government.  I ask why and how did this happen. We were duped into war in Vietnam and Iraq. For what purpose?

The country is morally and financially bankrupt. What was all the death and suffering for? We have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. What kind of a life will they have?Frank Jenkins

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The Korean War is truly America’s “Forgotten War.” I am just one of those who served in that nasty, horrific war that cost our country nearly as many casualties in three years as the Vietnam War did in 10. It really is time for some measure of recognition of the sacrifices made by these veterans, who are rapidly leaving us.Wallace Hystad

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A few years ago, I was talking to a friend who had been on the beaches on D-Day (“This Soldier’s Story Reminds Us of Why Memorial Day Matters”). I  asked him if he had ever thought of going back to see those beaches again. He nodded his head sadly. He told me that all he had to do was close his eyes, and he could see it all again.Pat Jorgensen

Let us not forget what Memorial Day is all about. If you know a son, daughter, father, mother, spouse, brother, or sister of one of our fallen, please take a moment to thank them, on behalf of our loved ones, for their sacrifice.Bryan Burgess

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Working as a cryptography tech in Paris gave me an overview of the war in Europe, which is why I will tolerate no criticism of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He had great generals leading large military groups and armies, but only so much materiel to go around.

When Gen. George Patton raced beyond his supplies (gasoline), the Battle of the Bulge with all its casualties ensued.

I learned of so many situations then and later. During the war, I could not understand why so many mattress covers were requested. Much later, I learned they were the forerunners of body bags. Much I’d like to forget.Gwen Cody

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The Korean War was the bloodiest war fought by the United States in the 20th century, based on the amount of men committed to combat: Over 54,000 killed in action and 8,000 unaccounted-for prisoners of war in just three years. But many forget to mention the truly “Forgotten War.”Carl White

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My husband served in both the Vietnam and Korean wars, so he doubly felt the rejection by the public. However, he volunteered for Vietnam. The omission of recognition that bothers him the most is that owed to Korean veterans.

He was drafted right out of high school, and it was during the Battle of Inchon that he earned his Purple Heart. Please, whenever you honor the veterans of our nation’s wars, remember those who fought in Korea during the 1950s. Many are still alive and carry the physical and emotional wounds of that conflict.Anita Dragoo

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I suggest my fellow Americans find the book “The Second World War” by Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint, and John Pritchard. Its 1,300-plus pages explain World War II more thoroughly than anything I have ever read.

This book tells of Nazi Germany’s “work” in Europe, and why the Nazis had to be stopped. It tells of imperial Japan’s treatment of China, the Philippines, prisoners of war, and so on.

My brother and four first cousins served in WWII, all as volunteers. One was a nurse in North Africa for 18 months. I served in the U.S. Marines with volunteers from WWII and Korea. One Marine was a master sergeant captured on Wake Island. My brother was at Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. A cousin started on Guadalcanal.Alan K. Jackson

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Thank all you heroes who put yourselves in harm’s way so that we are protected here in America (“Just a Common Soldier: A Moving Tribute for Memorial Day“). I have always loved our flag and our country. My father was in World War I, and I have always been proud of him and every man or woman who has kept us safe. God bless America and all those who still serve to keep us safe.Leona Raney

We so often forget what sacrifices our men and women give our country. This simple poem says it all (“Just a Common Soldier: A Moving Tribute for Memorial Day“). Don’t forget our brave solders from the past and present. They are the true heroes. They give their all. Remember this: A man who lays down his life for someone else is a true hero. God bless and please, God, bring them home safe.Bobby Lewis

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Not only should we mourn, but as Patton said, celebrate their lives and be glad that we had them in a time of need.John Naguski

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Regarding Jarrett Stepman’s commentary “Memorial Day Tributes Should Include What Soldiers Fought For“:  It’s a national tragedy. The dumbing down of America continues. Our politicians do not care as long as they remain in power.Joel G. Wood

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I have been watching Oliver North’s “War Stories” for many months. They show the reality and the horror of war. They should be viewed in our schools, because the magnitude of the sacrifice by so many is being lost.Loretta Hurite

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We do tend to forget the soldiers are individuals with families and friends, hopes and dreams, and most are at the beginning of their lives (“This Soldier’s Story Reminds Us of Why Memorial Day Matters“). Those that are lost are sorely missed and owed a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.Rick Simons

As a proud nationalized U.S. citizen from La Paz, Bolivia, I respectfully pay tribute to the heroines and heroes of all wars who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our beloved country free and the exceptional beacon of light for the rest of the world. May their souls rest in peace, and may we always remember them in our fervent daily prayers.Luis R. Quiroz

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I have a copy of President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day speech (“‘They Stood for Something and We Owe Them Something’: Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day Speech“). I listened to it on Memorial Day 2016, along with the rest of the speeches I have in DVD format, instead of listening to you know who. We will never have another president and commander-in-chief like Ronald Reagan, or anything close to him. He brought our country together.Virginia Murrell

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God bless our fallen warriors.Pete Kleff

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A million GIs also served in Europe from 1950 on, keeping Stalin out of Western Europe (“Making Memorial Day Make a Difference“). The tour of duty was three years at $75 a month. Nobody knew we were there, and still don’t know, as there is nothing in the history books about that era.

We had air bases with atom bombs to hold the USSR in check, and ground troops for fodder. This was before intercontinental ballistic missiles. And thank God that Stalin died in 1953.

When I came back in 1954, nobody knew what was avoided. Nobody seemed to know we were there, and people still haven’t a clue. None of us is looking for a medal. Just a printed record would be nice in a recognized history book, written by an author with common sense.Don Nardone 

I have many relatives buried in Arlington Cemetery, and make many visits throughout the year. I see the thousands of headstones, and the hundreds of niches for cremains, and still after all these years I am still awed by it all.

So not make this weekend the only time you thank a serviceman or servicewoman for their service. Do it every time you see any man or woman in uniform, or a veteran.

Recently, I walked up to a young Marine and extended my hand and said thank you. He asked, “What for?” I said,  “For serving.” He then told me I was the first person who ever had said that to him.

Please remember, they serve 52 weeks of the year, not just this weekend.Jeanne Stottler

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 May they rest in peace with truth and grace.Mary De Voe

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Here’s a lesser-known verse of “America the Beautiful”:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

Americans have died, in liberating strife, at home and on foreign soil for more than two centuries. Our heroes gave us the freedom to refine who we are. May we always be worthy of their sacrifice.Will

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