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Not just a time for picnicking

May 24, 2009

As you fire up that barbeque, spend the day at the lake, or however you spend Memorial Day, take a few moments to to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed so much so that we can spend this day however we please.

Take for instance, Private Albert Eck. Enlisted after Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was captured by a German soldier and spent time in a POW and work camps under horrible conditions, suffering frostbitten feet. Many painful days laid ahead of him as he worked to regain the strength in his feet, which he eventually did.

Or the strong-willed Pvt. Denton Crocker, Jr., who ran off after high school to enlist in the Army. He ran off without saying anything because he knew that his parents wanted him to go to college, not war. How he survived what was thought to be the bubonic plague only to be killed by small arms fire. The account that his mother writes of the notification will break your heart. But his words, “I still believe that individual freedom is the most important thing in the world and I am willing to die to defend that idea.” defined his purpose, and they stand as true today as they did when he fought in Vietnam.

They’re all heros. Those who survived, and those who did not. There’s so much to thank them for, one day just isn’t enough. Let’s make sure that on this Memorial Day, we commit to ensuring that our government looks after our veterans the way that they should, not the shameful way  that they have.

For more stories on veterans of American wars, go to the Veterans History Project .

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