MEMORIAL DAY AND SACRIFICE
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur on Monday, May 31.
Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
My family is a Blue Star Family with one of our Son's, Vince serving as an Army Green Beret Master Sergeant, so the recent celebration of Armed Forces Day on May 15th and the upcoming 245th birthday of the US Army on June 14th holds special significance in our household. Memorial Day is a hallowed holiday for the many who have sacrificed their all in the defense of our freedoms. I know many in our community have sacrificed for our nation. The Honor Roll in the lobby at City Hall lists the contributors to freedom from Parsons. Today there are many Parsonians who have currently serving family members deployed across the country and around the world this weekend.
The incredible sacrifices that our military men and women make is indescribable, valiant, beyond heroic, and sometime forgotten by the privileged masses today.
These people, sons and daughters, husbands, and wives, lay their lives on the line for their country, for strangers and especially for the men and women around them.
I hate to compare movies to real world experience, but for many in our country those wide screen experiences are as close to living the military experience they will get.
Recent decades we could look to Restrepo (2010), Lone Survivor (2013), 12 Strong (2018), and many others to get just a glimpse of the sacrifices that have faced serving military members in recent years. Remember that there are about 1.3 million active-duty military personnel, or less than one-half of 1 percent of the country. We demand a lot from this small sliver of our population.
My Father was a Pearl Harbor Survivor on the USS Ralph Talbot a destroyer. Like many families, all my Uncles served in each of the services from Navy, Marine, Army and Army Air Force. There are a couple WWII movies I enjoy.
Watch "Midway." Consider the reality. These pilots, knowing the majority of them were not coming back from their missions, fought to get into those planes, take off and attack their enemy. Marvel at the fact that several of them jumped back into questionable aircraft after experiencing the terror of hundreds of guns firing at them while they tried to hit a moving target that was almost invisible because of the smoke, flak and explosions enveloping their planes. Ponder the sheer horror of watching dozens of their friends being blown out of the sky by anti-aircraft fire.
Band of Brothers. A fact only alluded to in the series is how many of those paratroopers, wounded, went AWOL from the hospital, not to flee the military and avoid the fighting but, incredibly, to return back to the front and join their company in battle! Their sacrifices and the sacrifices of our currently serving military members show amazing bravery. We enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice, living peacefully and safely. Memorial Day is a great day to remember, thank and support.
So those in policing across the United States, many who are also veterans, thank our military members this weekend. We appreciate their sacrifices. The ranks of policing include 1,000,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, again less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. population try to partner with our community members to increase the safety and livability of our communities large and small.
In closing, we have to make significant break throughs not just on the faraway battlefields of the world for our military. But, on our local streets. Remember that active shooters are a challenge across the nation. Over 600 mass shootings in 2020, compared with 417 in 2019. That carnage has continued into 2021, with at least 232 mass shootings as of May 26, (including the recent mass shooting in San Jose, Calif). We will talk more about shootings in a future blog.
Remember that Memorial Day Weekend is more than the beginning of summer, it's a time to reflect upon service, lives lost and dreams yet to be achieved.
Robert Spinks - Chief of Police
Inspired from an editorial by Lt Jim Glennon (ret) at Calibre Press
Data from The New York Times, A Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States in 2021, downloaded on May 27, 2021 from: https://www.nytimes.com/article/mass-shootings-2021.html