ALPENA — On Memorial Day, people pay tribute to the brave men and women who gave their lives to preserve freedom at home in the United States and around the globe.
Remembering them for sacrificing their lives is important, but taking time to reflect on the life events they missed out on because of their bravery and love for others can help paint a clearer picture of what their ultimate sacrifice was.
At the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field, hundreds of people gathered to honor our nation’s heroes. Lt. Col. Dustin Budd was the guest speaker and during his address, he urged people who lost someone close during war, to talk about them, share their stories and dreams with others, and to cherish their memories.
Budd said many soldiers who died in combat, or are missing in action, were just beginning life’s journey, when they enlisted or were drafted into the military. He said their deaths mean they missed out on key life events that some people may take for granted.
“We must strive to understand and appreciate more the depth of the sacrifice they made,” Budd said. “We must consider their goals, their hopes for the future, the plans they had set in motion for that future, their anticipated joy of having and raising children and grandchildren, of living their days with the love of their life, all of the hopes and plans they had for making the absolute most of the life given them by their creator ended abruptly for an ideal that directly benefits you and I, and the generations yet to come.”
Often, a moment of silence is used to pay respect for someone who has died. Budd said that is a fitting tribute, but he added utilizing words can be even more powerful in keeping their memory alive.
“With words we express, with words we remember them,” he said. “We remember them through the experiences we shared together. With words we convey to our children the great price of freedom and the moments in history that have made possible the blessings of today. Words connect us with them. We share the words of who they were, where they lived, whom they loved and cherished. Words allow us to share what was dear and important to them.”
After Budd’s speech, Wreaths were placed in front of the rows of white crosses marking those from Alpena who perished while serving. Wreaths were also placed near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, for the missing in action and prisoners of war, and for those who were impacted from Agent Orange.
The VFW 2496 did a rifle salute and Bob Sullivan and Nancy Halsey played taps before the closing prayer delivered by Marine Bill Romstadt.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.