Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who died while serving in our armed forces.
It's also a time for remembering heroes. For the last two years on Memorial Day I posted the same essay, one which honors America's most decorated soldier in World War II, Texas born Audie Murphy.
But I think others should be remembered on this day too. Not only the recognized heroes and those who died. But the ordinary service men and women who've done and still do their jobs without much recognition. In a way, they're heroes too. They're the seamen, the petty officers, the privates, the corporals, the sergeants, the warrant officers, the airmen, and senior airmen. They've carried the water, cooked the meals, drove the trucks, typed the letters, repaired the machinery, sent the messages, pumped the fuel, and kept the whole operation that provides our defense functioning smoothly.
When I was an adolescent, I remember becoming aware of the various branches of service, the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Air Force, and the Marines, and what their roles are in protecting our country. I remember seeing those movies during the late '40s and early '50s that featured a story about a particular service. One important facet of all those movies was the prominent use of the song that we associate with that service. Sometimes the song would be used throughout the movie. In other movies, the song would provide background at the climactic moment. Always, those songs evoked a sense of pride in our country and our people.
Many people today, especially the elite, think such overt patriotism is out of fashion and only for the uneducated. They think such displays are mawkish and inappropriate because America in their view is not really a special country.
Some even question whether using the word "hero" is appropriate when applied to soldiers who die in service because using the word is supportive of or justifies war.
This is America, so they have a right to think that and to say that. I just hope they don't totally forget that those who serve guarantee them that right. That's why on Memorial Day I like to remember all of those who have served and who still serve today as well as the fallen. And it's also why I still enjoy listening to the "old fashioned" service songs. These songs remind me of all the ordinary Janes and Joes and Erichs who keep us safe. I believe they're heroes too.