Frank J. Montoya
On this Memorial Day, we pause to reflect, to remember, and to pay homage to those valiant souls who made the final sacrifice, those who heeded Liberty’s call in time of need and who went forth in defense of Freedom.
We remember those who served on the Western Front, in the hedgerows and in the trenches of the First World War, and who now rest in peace in Flanders Field.
We remember the tens of thousands who did not return from the hot and dusty deserts of Northern Africa, the muddy roads of Southern Italy, the beaches of France, the frozen mountains and timbered groves of Austria, Belgium and Germany, and from the myriad islands and steaming jungles of the South Pacific as they confronted our country’s enemies on land, in the air and on the seas during the Second World War.
We remember the grieving Wives and Mothers who tearfully placed Gold Stars in the windows of so many homes in cities, towns and villages throughout our country as they mourned for Fathers, Sons and Husbands who, at their country’s call, left home, family and all they held dear and, tragically, did not return.
We remember the unsung heroes of the “Forgotten War” in Korea and of our most unpopular war, in Vietnam who served proudly for causes that were largely misunderstood and who were, sadly, maligned and subjected to abuse, both here at home and abroad.
We remember those who served and bravely died in our efforts to promote and keep the peace in a number of foreign countries including Lebanon, Somalia, Kuwait and Yemen, just to name a few.
We remember our latest heroes, those newly fallen in Afghanistan and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as we resort to a different kind of war; a conflict that knows no fronts or bounds, waged by an enemy that has no regard for innocent human life; that despises our “Western Ways” and for reasons we find difficult to understand, is fanatically committed to destroying our very existence.
We remember the Prisoners of War, confined in cages, pits and bamboo huts, starved, debased, degraded, and tormented, both in body and in mind. Their strength and courage reflect the American Spirit.
We remember the thousands whose fate is still unknown, who have been officially declared as Missing in Action. We must make every effort possible to account for them and to determine their final destiny.
We remember all who served and, thankfully, are still among us. Although their numbers rapidly dwindle to a precious few, they stand proudly beside us as vibrant, living monuments to remind us of crises past, of countless battles fought and won during those terrible times of adversity.
We remember and honor each and every one who served, who fought, and who died that we might live in a Free Democracy without constraint, without hindrance, and without fear of bondage or subservience.
We must never forget their glorious legacy: Freedom is not free. They paid the price to give us Liberty.
©Copyright May 18, 2002 by Frank J. Montoya