On Memorial Day, the President has asked all Americans to take a moment of silence at 12:01 p.m. and remember our fallen heroes who died while protecting our nation.
If you find yourself at a loss as to whom you should be saying a silent prayer for, perhaps the list below will give you some ideas.
REMEMBER Casmir Pulaski, a Polish immigrant who came to the New World in 1771 at the behest of Benjamin Franklin. Pulaski was a renowned cavalryman who fought against the Russians in his home country before coming to America to offer his services in the cause of freedom.
In 1777, Pulaski saved the life of George Washington at the Battle of Brandywine by rallying a charge of cavalry to cover the retreat of the doomed Continental Army. His heroism in battle caused Washington to elevate Pulaski to Brigadier General of the American Cavalry. Pulaski was mortally wounded during the Siege of Savannah while leading a cavalry charge, and to this day scholars do not know whether he was buried at sea or at a plantation in Georgia.
REMEMBER William Williams, an escaped slave who made his way to Baltimore and enlisted in the army as a private first class in the days preceding the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Hoping his enlistment would lead to his emancipation after the war, but with no guarantee of such a delivery, Williams nevertheless fought with such a ferocity that he was noted in the battle logs at Fort McHenry. Gravely wounded by a British cannonball which tore his leg open during the battle which inspired the lyrics to our Star Bangled Banner, Williams fought on until pulled from the battle by his superiors.
He later died in a Baltimore hospital and was buried in a grave unknown, one of the unsung heroes of America's Second War of Independence.
REMEMBER Jacob Brown, a major in the U.S. Army at the time of the siege of Fort Texas. The siege began on May 3rd, 1846 when Mexican forces opened fire with artillery on the fort with guns placed across the Rio Grande in Matamoros. Despite being outgunned, Major Brown used his own artillery forces to fend off the siege until forces from General Zachary Taylor could arrive to help. Wounded himself by cannon fire, Brown valiantly kept fighting and boosting the morale of his troops, and is credited with saving the lives of many under his command. He died soon after from his wounds, and the fort was soon after renamed Fort Brown in honor of the fallen major. Later the city of Brownsville, Texas would also be named after the lost American soldier.
REMEMBER Robert Shaw, a 25 year old from Boston, who after distinguishing himself on the battlefields of the American Civil War, was placed in charge of the newly formed 54th Massachusetts regiment consisting of all black soldiers recently freed by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
In July of 1863, Shaw would lead his men in a charge against Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. Shaw died leading the charge, although his men would indeed breach the fort, and with Union regulars, would ultimately prevail. The movie 'Glory', starring Matthew Broderick tells the tale of this brave fallen hero.
REMEMBER Sam Davis, a private in the Confederate Army, who, as a scout under Captain Coleman of the First Tennessee Infantry, was gathering information about Union soldiers who were moving towards Chattanooga. Captured by two Union soldiers disguised in Confederate uniforms, Davis was brought before Union General Dodge in Pulaski, Tennessee. Told he would be spared a spy's death if he would but give information about his regiment, Davis told Dodge, " If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all here before I would betray a friend or the confidence of my informer."
Subsequently hung as a traitor and a spy, enough time has passed in the course of American history to call this brave young man what he was, an American hero.
REMEMBER Scanandoah Chapman, a member of the Oneida Native American Tribe (Turtle Clan), at the time of the Spanish-American War, who in 1898 volunteered with six of his fellow sailors to board the Spanish flagship in Manila Bay. Using a raft and nothing but a pole, Chapman led the ragtag band across the Bay, boarding the Spanish ship and, using explosives, destroying it. This act caused the Spanish fleet to fall into complete disarray, and led to Admiral George Dewey, the Commander of the American Fleet, to recommend Chapman for the Medal Of Honor.
REMEMBER David Barkley, a U.S. Army Private assigned to the 356th Infantry during World War One, who, after information was needed on enemy troop strength and placement near Pouilly-sur-Meuse in France, volunteered along with Sergeant Michael Hatler to swim across the Meuse River in an attempt to get behind enemy lines.
A native of Laredo, Texas, Barkley and Hatler made their way across the river under heavy enemy fire, and somehow found themselves in a position to take note of enemy movements. During their return swim back across the river with the desperately needed information, Barkley seized up with cramps and drowned, while Hatler returned alive.
The first Hispanic-American to ever receive the medal Of Honor, Private Barkely is buried at San Antonio National Cemetery.
REMEMBER Sylvester Antolak, a Company B Army Sergeant during World War Two, who on May 24th, 1944, charged across 200 yards of flat terrain to destroy a German machine gun nest near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy. Running far in advance of his squad at the Anzio Beach Head, Antolak took three bullets, one of which shattered his right arm.
Cradling his own machine gun under his other arm, Antolak continued to push forward under direct heavy fire until he was close enough to open up on the enemy position, killing two German soldiers and forcing ten others to surrender.
Despite needing medical attention badly, Antolak instead pressed forward to the next enemy position, leading his men from the front. getting three fourths of the way there, Antolak was cut down in a hail of German bullets, but his company, inspired by his heroics, overwhelmed the enemy and established a breach for his company to keep advancing forward.
REMEMBER William Baugh, Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corp. Born July 7th, 1930 in McKinney, Kentucky, Baugh enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17.
After a short stint at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Baugh was assigned to the First Marine Division in Korea. On November 29th, 1950, while his motorized column was en route from from one destination to another during a night time movement, they were ambushed by an enemy attack.
While he and his squad were preparing to jump out of their truck to engage in the fierce battle that was erupting, a grenade flew into the vehicle. Private Baugh shouted a warning to his fellow Marines, and with total disregard for his own safety, leaped on the grande, sustaining mortal injuries, but sparing his fellow soldiers from severe injury and death.
REMEMBER Wayne Caron, a Navy sailor and Hospital Corpsman, who joined the Navy in 1966 and who found himself in a Vietnamese rice field in 1968 with a platoon of Marines.
During a routine sweep of the rice field the unit came under blistering fire and Caron watched as two Marines were hit. Crawling towards the two wounded men, Caron was struck in the arm by enemy fire, but continued onward and rendered medical aid to the two Marines. Credited later with saving their lives, Caron continued on to another Marine in need despite being stuck again by a second bullet in his leg. After helping the man, he tried to get to yet another Marine who was injured when an enemy rocket blew him apart.
Corpsman Caron is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
REMEMBER the 19 American soldiers killed during the Invasion Of Grenada.
REMEMBER the 23 American soldiers killed during the Invasion of Panama, a mini war to depose Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.
REMEMBER Young Dillon of Aurora, Colorado. An Army Sergeant during the First Gulf War, or Operation Desert Storm, Dillon had just passed by a good friend's tank column near the Iraqi/Saudi border when they came under attack by Iraq's Republican Guard. Heavy mortar fire and artillery decimated Dillon's platoon, and while still under heavy RPG fire, his friend's column rode in. His friend, Sergeant Clay Tidwell, held Dillon in his arms while he died from severe injuries.
Dillon is a recognized Man of Honor to the Kuwaiti government.
REMEMBER Gary Gordon, born August 30th, 1960 in Lincoln, Maine. He joined the Army at the age of 18, and after a stint with the 2nd Battalion, he ended up as a sniper with the elite Delta Forces.
On October 3rd, 1993, Gordon was the sniper team leader during Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia when the radio crackled that a Black Hawk helicopter had been shot down. A search and rescue team was sent to rescue the crew of the first helicopter, but they too were shot down. Ranger forces already engaged in a firefight with Somali militia were trying to make their way to the first crash site and radioed that they were unable to get to the second.
Gordon radioed in three requests to be deployed to the second crash site to protect the fallen crew from Somalis on the ground. The third request was granted and Gordon and his team rappelled to the ground armed with only their personal weapons. Fighting their way to the downed helicopter, they established a defensive parameter, but in short order they were overwhelmed by the Somalis. Gordon was killed as was his team mate, but not before inflicting heavy casualties on the Somalis. Awarded the Medal Of Honor posthumously, Gordon was buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Maine.
REMEMBER Michael Monsoor of Long Beach, California, born April 5th, 1981, joined the Navy in March of 2001. After completing the rigorous Navy Seal training course, he was assigned to Delta platoon, Seal Team Three. Deployed to Ramadi, Iraq to help train Iraqi soldiers, Monsoor and his platoon came under frequent enemy fire. On September 29th, 2006, an insurgent tossed a grenade over the roof of a building Monsoor and his platoon were standing behind.
The only person to see the explosive, Monsoor could have gotten out of the way in time. But that would have almost certainly left his comrades to severe injury or death, and so Monsoor jumped on top of the grenade, absorbing the blast with his body and saving the lives of his friends. He died a half hour later and was awarded the Medal of Honor.
REMEMBER Patrick Tillman, born November 6th, 1976 in Fremont, California. After a successful college football career with Arizona State University, Tillman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals to play in the NFL.
After 9/11, Tillman turned down a multi million dollar contract to keep playing in the NFL in order to enlist in the Army. Taking part in the initial phases of the Second Iraq War, Tillman entered Ranger School upon his return home to the U.S. upon graduation, Tillman was deployed to multiple combat tours in Afghanistan, where he was killed by friendly fire in a case of mistaken identity on April 22nd, 2004.
REMEMBER finally, all of those who have fallen during all of America's wars. It does not matter what party you affiliate with, what ideology you subscribe to, what color your skin is, or whatever religious creed you follow.
These Americans and so many others gave their lives for us to live in a free and peaceful land. A land where they left behind loved ones to go stand guard on the walls. Honor their memory on Memorial Day, or any other day for that matter, by stopping to think about them and the sacrifice they made for the rest of us.
To those families of the fallen who are alive today, let there be peace in your lives. Let there be the light of love in your hearts. And let the sorrow be taken from you by a Being that has the power to do so. Let you find the help and the support that you need from those entrusted to give it, and may all Americans stand together to say thank you to the great Americans who helped save our nation in it's times of peril..........
These facts of war and the losses incurred are real and not just my, humble opinon................