Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

These photo say it all. Memorial Day is a U.S. national holiday when we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. If you have lost a loved one, please know that millions are pausing today to reflect on your sacrifices. We care. Thank you for giving up the most precious thing you could give - your children, fathers and mothers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, cousins, and friends. I hope you can let the American people embrace you today in a gigantic collective hug of love and appreciation.

While today isn't really about the living, it's a great opportunity to thank veterans and the men and women who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. At any time, those at war could join the fallen at our national memorials at Arlington Cemetery and across the country. Today, some who were injured while serving are healing at hospitals around the world. Their stories - grit, determination, and bravery - are inspirational. Others who have returned from war aren't receiving the care (or the jobs) we owe them. That saddens me, especially when they are put on endless waiting lists for care.

There was a beautiful, moving tribute, originally published in the Washington Post, A Song of Gratitude at Arlington National Cemetery, by Page Johnson of McLean, Virginia. I recommend that you read it at this link.

Here's a short excerpt.

So on this day of memories, I come to tell them thank you. I come to tell them I honor their service and the heritage they have given me. Most of all, I come to tell them that they are neither alone nor forgotten. I will be here for them, in spirit and in deed, and for their fellow soldiers trying to make a safer world so the children of every mother and father can sleep securely at night.

This photo is another that left me in tears.  This Memorial Day weekend, please pause to honor and remember the U.S. military dogs, who have been selflessly serving since World War II. In this photo, Staff Sgt. Thomas Sager carries the body of Dinomt (pronounced "dynomite"), a 90-pound German shepherd killed by an IED while on patrol in Kandahar. "He somehow took most of the blast, saving my life," his handler, Petty Officer 2nd Class Leroy Williams, said in an article a couple of months after Dinomt died. "I am eternally grateful. … There has not been a night go by yet that I don't miss him and even cry for him."

So many images - so many stories - define Memorial Day. "Thank you" doesn't seem adequate. While there will be pageantry, picnics, parades, concerts, and fireworks today, many of us will be thinking tearfully about the heroes who gave their lives so that we could live in peace.

Photos courtesy of unknown,, National Geographic, and the Washington Post


Nemo said...

Your feature today is beyond wonderful. And I'm not talking about the BB eye kit. How heart-breaking some of those pics are--yes, the one of the dear dog affected me the most! Do we know what happened to that British military dog that ended up in the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan? Oh, the nightmares. Why can't we rescue that dog, and the poor American soldier held by them now for years? The Israelis rescue theirs, why can't we? Now for makeup news: I spoke with a CHANEL rep recently who told me 8 new eye quads will be coming to our shores sometime this summer, probably July. They are already on counters in Europe. They are beautiful! Meanwhile, all seems quiet--too quiet--on the Le Metier de Beaute front. It used to be that I'd be seeing kit after kit on your blog, Cg, and now--well, nothing since the Countess. Oh yeah, they have that silly but pricey promo on their web site. Either they are going under or want to sell. Wouldn't it be nice if Estee Lauder would buy LMDB (why not? they own everything else, including Bobbi Brown), and make Michael Reinhardt their creative director? Here's hoping! I think his Countess eye kit is fascinating. It taught me about eye makeup all over again. It makes the perfect summer, sultry eye. Very sexy.

Charlestongirl said...

Nemo, Memorial Day breaks my heart. I don't know what happened to that dog, but I fear the worse. Good question: Why don't we ALWAYS rescue our own?

Regarding LMdB, they have reorganized, and they will start soon releasing a bonanza of stuff. I have the deets, but I can't share them yet. For Camp Gorgeous, Michael will have an exclusive K as a GWP! Things are looking up.

Eileen said...

Beautiful post, Charlestongirl. Those pictures are poignant and touched my heart deeply. I have a picture of very young me seated beside my mother while she is being presented with the flag that draped my father's coffin. After her death, the flag came to be mine. It has never been opened but is safely tucked inside my cedar chest along with his medals and ribbons.

For a heartwarming true story, wiki Staff Sergeant Reckless, US Marine Corps, who served in Korea and received two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Korea Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and Republic of Korea Presidential Citation. After the Korean conflict, Reckless was stationed at Camp Pendleton where she was promoted to Staff Sargeant and honored with a 19 gun salute and a parade of 1,700 marines. That's right, SHE. Oh!, and by the way, Reckless was a HORSE :-). Our friend and neighbor, Robin, was responsible for the fund raising campagne that resulted in the creation of a bronze statue of Reckless that was dedicated on July 26, 2013. It's located in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Robin is now getting the funds together for a duplicate statue for Camp Pendleton where Reckless is interred. Korea has also asked to buy a statue of this phenomenal war hero. The story of Staff Sargeant Reckless and the extraordinary bond that was formed between her and the men in her unit is a testament to the selfless dedication, loyalty, bravery and willingness to sacrifice that is at the core of true bravery. What a horse! What an incredible soul!

Charlestongirl said...

Eileen, now I'm crying again. I hope I'll be able to contribute to that memorial.

We have my father's flag - safe and sound (and still wrapped up).

Watching the Memorial Day Concert on the Mall, which is always tearful.

Eileen said...

If you check out Sgt Reckless (Moorpark, CA) on Facebook, you can see some of the things Robin has been up to to just lately to get publicity for Reckless and raise funds for the Pendleton statue. She's being honored as Patriotic Citizen of the Year at the Red, White, and Blue Ball at the Regan Library this year so I'm sure she'll make her goal. I liked what she said about Reckless: "She wasn't a horse, she was a Marine." I'm sure all those men fighting on the front lines, relying on Reckless to brave enemy fire to bring supplies and munitions, and all those wounded who were relying on Reckless to carry them back down to the safety of the field hospital, would heartily and unhesitatingly agree with Robin's assessment. Semper Fi!

Charlestongirl said...

Eileen, I checked out and liked the FB site. Thank you for drawing our attention to Sgt. Reckless.

I'm honored that a suitable horse was found in Virginia!

Mirjam said...

Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful post.