Today is Memorial Day. It is the day we remember United States service members who died serving our nation in combat.
For some it is a day of BBQ and gatherings, a long weekend, or just a wee respite from the daily ins and outs of life. For others it is a solemn day of remembrance and reflection, thinking upon those that gave all for their country so that we may enjoy that BBQ, long weekend, or friendly gathering.
I want to take a few minutes of your time to remember our fallen heroes, lest we forget why today is a national holiday. Arlington National Cemetery is a solemn place where many of our fallen are laid to rest, but not all. It is a place of great reverence, where John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Grace Hopper, Joe Louis Barrows , and my great uncle are interred. They served our nation with distinction, but many more were lost- in combat defending the freedoms we hold so dear… more than Arlington can hold.
Marine Cpl. Jennifer Marie Parcell of Bel Air Maryland died February 7, 2007 supporting combat operations in Al Anbar Province during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was a Lioness.
Marine Capt. Jesse Melton III from Randallstown, Maryland perished September 9, 2008 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez of Baltimore, Maryland died July 18, 2012 in Ghazni City, Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Army Spc. George Mitchell of Rawlings, Maryland died April 7, 2003 in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
These are merely a handful of the fallen heroes from our nation’s most recent conflicts. There are so many more from every corner of America dating back to the Revolutionary War and the founding of our great nation.
Today please honor those Americans that sacrificed everything for the rest of us to live the lives we choose. Freedom is not free, and we as Americans are free because of these fallen heroes. Never forget!
What am I doing today? I am attempting to take the Murph challenge. United States Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy was a Navy Seal that lost his life June 28, 2005 behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. Gravely wounded, he exposed himself to enemy fire to send a distress signal to HQ in an attempt to save the lives of his Seal Team. Only 1 survived- Marcus Lutrell. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
The Murph Challenge raises money for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund and involves: 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, followed by a 1 mile run. My niece, a Marine and a graduate of the US Naval Academy Class of 2008, served three tours (1- Iraq, 2-Afghanistan) during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is currently in her second trimester of pregnancy and has taken and successfully completed the Murph Challenge today. I am extremely humbled by her, and proud of her… and no where near her level of fitness. Therefore, I am not timing myself, and I may not make it through- but I am going to give it my best effort for all veterans and particularly those that have lost their lives. Hopefully by next year I too can be a factor in raising money for this worthy cause.
After I am done I will fully enjoy a local Maryland craft beer- probably Full Tilt- Memorial Pils. I bet you can guess why.
God bless our fallen heroes.