On the evening of June 6th, 1944, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy, France began. This operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history. With today marking the 68th anniversary of that day, we feel that everyone should take a moment and reflect. Remember those that fought for every inch of ground on that great day. It was not an easy job but our soldiers knew what was expected of them in order to win the war.
This last week as I attended SOFIC in Tampa, Florida, I had the opportunity to visit the UDT/SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce. It was my first time to visit the museum and the first time I had the chance to look at the memorial wall that was erected to remember each member of the UDT/SEAL community that has fallen since they born in the waters of Ft. Pierce.
Out of these men on the wall, I knew four during my time in the Navy and at BUD/s, Marc Lee, Alex Ghane, Ryan Job and Jason Workman. Before I left my visit at the museum, I went inside to ask if they had a piece of paper that I could use to make a rubbing on the wall of my friends. The man I asked said “I can do better than that” and proceeded to grab a large piece of felt-like material, a big black crayon-looking puck and head towards the door. He said, “I’d be honored to help you” and I admit that my allergies got to me a bit as I thanked him.
I’m not comfortable with that fact that my friends are up on that wall and I’d rather be able to pick up a phone, or see these men in person again one day. They gave their tomorrows so that we could have today and this is what Memorial Day is all about to me. Honoring their sacrifice and never forgetting.
This is why I’ll be at the Carry The Load event in Dallas today and tomorrow, walking for 20 hours and 12 minutes with a brick for each of these warriors. Rather than try to express the meaning of Memorial Day here, I’d like to present an excellent article written this week by Debbie Lee, Marc Lee’s mother and founder of America’s Mighty Warriors, a charity that’s near and dear to us at ITS Tactical.
Fallen But Not Forgotten
Memorial Day weekend has kicked-off and people all over the nation are jumping into their cars, RVs and Motor homes to take advantage of the three-day weekend. Everything is packed and ready to go after weeks of focused planning. Many have anticipated this weekend for months and planned for camp-outs, parties, fun at the lake or beaches and just a little R&R.
For those who choose to stay home you can take advantage of the “Huge Blow Out Sales” on everything from mattresses to cars, oh and don’t forgot all those sales at the market for that big BBQ. Many kids are cheering as this marked the end of their school year and the swimming pools are opening for the season.
It seems every ad in the newspaper, commercial on TV or banner reminds us to “Celebrate Memorial Day” or wishes you Happy Memorial Day! The majority of Americans don’t even find those statements conflicting, or understand what Memorial Day is really about.
Let’s check the dictionary, a memorial is an object which serves as a focus, for memory of something, usually a person (who has died) or an event, day a unit of time. Memorial Day was always the 30th of May until 1968 when Congress changed it to the last Monday in May so to allow for a three day weekend, now known as Memorial Day weekend. As a nation we have set aside this time to reflect (to think seriously) and remember (to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory) our brave military heroes who gave their life in combat. This requires effort and serious thoughts not celebration and happiness.
As I child I remember getting together with family for picnics or BBQs and we looked forward to camping trips or trips to the lake. There were a few trips I remember to the cemetery, but it was to place flowers on deceased relative’s graves who had never served in the military. I thought Memorial Day was to remember loved ones who had died. I wasn’t taught and therefore I missed the opportunity to teach my children that Memorial Day is to remember those who paid the ultimate price. Freedom comes with a price, it isn’t free.
It really was my son, Marc Alan Lee who taught me about Memorial Day. Please take a momemt to watch this tribute video.
I have been on a campaign for years to Reclaim Memorial Day and educate and challenge people about what Memorial Day is really about. Many well meaning people still choose to make their speeches or advertising about thanking and honoring our troops on Memorial Day. As a nation that’s why we have Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day to do that. Personally, I’ve made it my mission to honor and thank the troops everyday, but our focus, our speeches, our thoughts of remembrance are to be on our brave warriors who gave their final breath defending everyone in America and what we stand for.
If you are a Gold Star family member everyday is Memorial Day for you, not a day goes by that we don’t remember our son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, or spouse who gave all of their tomorrows so we could have today. We remember them with pride and pain.
I don’t have to focus or use effort to remember Marc’s smell, his laughter, his grin, his hugs, his playful antics and sense of humor, his voice or who he was and how he impacted every life he touched. He was a gift that God gave me for 28 years and I was blessed that God picked me to be his mother. That young man did more in his 28 years than most do if they live to an old age. Marc successfully completed his mission and I know where he is and I will see him again one day.
I founded America’s Mighty Warriors in response to Marc’s last letter home and our mission is to honor and support our troops and the families of the fallen. I understand Freedom is not Free! I will be that voice for our troops and those who have laid down their weapons and left their boots behind and have no voice.
Have we as a nation placed our priority on fun and self fulfillment for Memorial Day weekend and forgotten our fallen heroes who died in combat?
Not only will I be remembering my son Marc whose name means Mighty Warrior, but I will be remembering every one of America’s Mighty Warriors who gave their lives, no matter what conflict, what branch of military they served in, how old, married or single, enlisted or officer. I will remember their sacrifice and their families and will live my life in a way that would honor them and make them proud!
I’m challenging you to make the effort this Memorial Day Weekend and REMEMBER those who died so you could have the freedoms you have. EDUCATE yourself, your family and those in your sphere of influence as to what this weekend is really about and then HONOR our fallen heroes and their families left behind. Attend a memorial event near you, stop and decorate the grave of a fallen hero, watch a movie or read about a fallen war hero, begin conversations reflecting and remembering, find a Gold Star family or teammate of a fallen servicemember and thank them and show your gratitude and remember to pray for them.
I remember when I was driving from Phoenix to San Diego for Marc’s funeral and we were stopped in traffic because of a bad wreck that had shut down the freeway. I had an envelope with pictures of Marc for the service and remembered looking at people in the cars next to me. Their lives were going on normally and had no clue that my son had just given his life in Ramadi and ours would never be the same. I had this urge to get out of the car and show them Marc’s picture and tell them his heroic story. I remembering questioning my thoughts, how weird, I thought to myself. Since then I’ve heard that from so many Gold Star families, they feel the same, we just don’t want you to forget our loved ones. As a nation we owe it to our fallen heroes, they gave it all for us.
“A nation who forgets it’s defenders will itself be forgotten” ~ unknown author
Carry The Load is a 20-hour Memorial Day event honoring and thanking members of the military, law enforcement, firefighers and their families for the sacrifices they make.
It’s a life-changing journey for people as they walk or run as long or as little as they can in the 20-hour period. Like the service members they honor, they carry more than they have to, longer than they think they can. [Read More…]
Today, I’d like to offer my thoughts and perspective on the recently released Act of Valor movie. I’m not a movie critic, or even someone who’s got any operational experience outside of BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training) and what I was taught there. What I do offer with my write-up is the perspective of someone who has been through and overcome adversity side-by-side with members of the Naval Special Warfare community I’m proud to call my friends.
Words will never fittingly describe, nor do justice to the adversity that each one of these guys encountered in training and faces every day of their lives. What I mean by this is the continuous training, workup and deployment cycle they go through and all they sacrifice on a daily basis that most will never understand.
“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill [Read More…]
I think FDR said it best one of his famous quotes: “December 7, 1941, A date which will live in Infamy… No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.”
Let us never forget the hardships that our nation and its warriors faced this day 70 years ago, or what today’s warriors are up against. Please take time today to remember what our country went through and those we lost.
There are plenty of ways that you can thank veterans in your local community, but on this Veteran’s Day I’d like to share a few simple ways you can show your appreciation for what they’ve done.
A veteran is someone who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. Regardless of personal political views, that is an honor and there are too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.
I’ve always liked that description because it elicits so much meaning from such few words. That’s what we’d like your goal to be today; to do something simple that will mean so much to the veterans around you. Here are five simple ways you can make that happen: [Read More…]
To honor the memory of our fallen on this 10th anniversary of September 11th, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us your story and how you were personally affected by the tragedy and what were you doing when you heard the news.
I’d like to share my story here with you and hope you’ll consider doing the same in the comments below… [Read More…]
We’ve wanted to do something for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but also didn’t want to come up with anything that seemed like a celebration of the tragedy that struck America ten years ago today.
While we’re all believers in celebrating the lives of our fallen, we wanted to put together a shirt worthy of commemorating these heroes that would serve as a reminder day after day, not just simply for the tenth anniversary.
Our limited edition T-shirt directly benefits the Families of September 11, a nonprofit organization founded in October 2001 by families of those who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. We have a limited number of these shirts and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
This is not a pre-order and these shirts have already been ordered. We expect to ship no later than Friday September 16th and any orders placed after this date will ship immediately provided they’re in stock.
We’ve been updating our 8.6.11 Tribute Patch design to honor those that gave their lives in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011 and have made some changes based on feedback we’ve received from our readers.
ASOC (Army Special Operations Command) will be replaced with USAR and ARNG to properly honor the Chinook crew comprised of the Army Reserve 158th Aviation Regiment and the Army National Guard 135th Aviation Regiment. In addition, the 30 will be replaced with 31 to recognize the K-9 with Naval Special Warfare. We’re also adding a star for the K-9 as well. The updated art is shown on the right and we’ve also updated the descriptions on the checkout page and original article.
Last but not least, we’re working on allocating all the proceeds to multiple charities that will support the Army National Guard crew and the Air Force Special Operations, in addition to the Navy SEAL Foundation.
These custom 100% embroidery patches measure 3.5″ wide x 3.5″ tall and feature a gold VI and 23 stars for men and lone K-9 of DEVGRU and Naval Special Warfare who fell. The 31 with the black band symbolizes the 31 members of the combined efforts of the Naval Special Warfare Command, Army National Guard and the Air Force Special Operations Command who gave their lives on August 6th. The red star marks the location in Wardak Province, Afghanistan the QRF (Quick Reaction Force) Chinook was struck with an RPG.
These brave men have never asked for anything in return for what they continue to do around the globe to ensure our way of life here. Please help the Navy SEAL Foundation and the families of the fallen in anyway you can, whether it’s by purchasing a patch or donating directly to the Foundation and other charities set up to help our warriors!