Thursday, May 24, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007


As we approach the Memorial Day holiday my thoughts turn to those brave men and women who have fought for this country over the years. Of course, I think of those who attempt to fulfill their mission in the Middle East today - those brave volunteers who serve this country in what can only be described as a hell-hole in Iraq, with the ever-present threat of IEDs, snipers and mortar attacks. I think of those who continue to chase the Taliban back into their dusty holes in Afghanistan. They all deserve our respect and support. I think of Jose Angel Garibay, the young Costa Mesa resident who was the first Orange County resident to fall in the current war, and who was laid to rest at the Riverside National Cemetery

My thoughts also turn to those who have fought for this country in other remote part
s of the world. I recall, during a trip to Europe twenty years ago, visiting the American Military Cemetery just south of Florence, Italy. The photo at the top of this page is of that location. This place - 70 acres of sacred soil - is the location of graves of 4402 dead American soldiers, airman and sailors who lost their lives fighting in Italy in 1944. As you walk through the grounds and view the monuments and grave markers you cannot help but be moved by the sacrifice those men gave in defense of their country. I still get choked up just thinking about my experience there. This burial ground is one of 24 such places located on foreign soil that are managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission, established in 1923. You can read more about this commission and the battle monuments here.

The image to the right is of the cross and flag at Mt. Soledad, in San Diego. At the base of the cross are plaques with names and accomplishments of men and women who served our country. I recommend a day trip down to see this wonderful monument, which is viewed by hundreds of thousands of people each day as they commute to and from work. As you celebrate this holiday in whatever way you feel is appropriate, I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on it's real purpose. California Assemblyman and former Orange County Supervisor Jim Silva has posted a very relevant entry on the Red County/OC Blog entitled "Freedom Isn't Free". I hope you'll click on that link and read his message on this very special holiday.

Whether you agree with the current conflicts in the Middle East or not, please remember the men and women who volunteered to serve on our behalf. As you watch the race cars circle the track at Indianapolis I hope you'll think of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. As you picnic in a park, incinerating hot dogs and hamburgers, please remember those who serve us in distant places. Our freedom and liberty were won with the sacrifice of young lives. Please take a moment to recall their sacrifice and that of their families so we all can enjoy our lives today. Remember the flag and cross and all they represent.

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