May 28, 2007, - 11:50 am

On Memorial Day, the True American Heroes Remembered


Natl Guard Staff Sgt. Duane Dreasky is Buried in Arlington Natl. Cemetery

It’s trite but true: Today is a day that’s much more than hot dogs and picnics. It’s far more important. It’s about remembering those who gave their lives (and limbs) so that we could be and remain–to this day–free. Freedom isn’t free. For or against the war? Either way, they gave their lives so that you could travel, gather, associate, and speak your mind.
They’re great Americans, like (my posts about him , , , , and ), who volunteered to go to Iraq, even though–after a year serving at Guantanamo Bay–he was assigned to stay here in comfort as a recruiter. He died, last year, after a valiant 8-month fight to survive wounds from a terrorist attack near Habbaniyah, Iraq. The heroic Dreasky suffered burns over 75% of his body, but still tried to salute President Bush when he visited his bedside.

U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Moore @ the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

(Photo by H. Darr Beiser/USA Today)

Today, I think not just of those who gave their lives, but those who’ve returned home missing physical parts of themselves–the many amputees and other war-wounded, who were lucky enough to survive, but who also made a great sacrifice.

Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke, Jr., Iraq War Vet, Hugs Pearl Harbor Survivor/WWII Vet Houston James (Graunke Lost a Leg, Hand, and Eye Defusing a Bomb in Iraq)

But many of us don’t think about the troops much. You might be on a plane, reading USA Today, and not know or appreciate that one of our first-class American Heroes is riding beneath you . . .

Meanwhile, our American institutions don’t think so highly of the contributions of our troops, those who gave their lives and those who continue to serve our country. With them, it’s not a matter of not knowing who is in the cargo hold of your plane awaiting burial. It’s more a matter of much more conscious, deliberate abhorrent behavior against our troops and our national security.
While U.S. Senators clamor to (part of the immigration amnesty bill), my alma mater, The University of Michigan, refused to give in-state tuition to Michigan resident, Joshua Guedesse, because his father is active in the Coast Guard and was transferred. Although the school finally relented after a deluge of bad publicity in the form of a front-page Detroit Free Press story, the University of Michigan refuses to give in-state tuition to military kids who are Michigan residents.
It’s a policy that takes place all over America, except in a few states with “hardship” exemptions, like Ohio:

“This is a big issue, and it’s one of our goals. … Military spouses and dependents shouldn’t be disadvantaged because of their employment,” said Rene Campos, deputy director of government relations for military family matters at the Military Officers Association of America.
While some states — such as Ohio — have created exemptions for military families, Michigan is among those that hasn’t. Instead, there is a patchwork of policies that vary from campus to campus that can cost those [military] families thousands of dollars a year in added fees and tuition if parents move.
U-M does not consider the children of the hundreds of active-duty military members at the state’s dozens of installations to be Michigan residents. And that distinction largely shuts the door to them receiving the cheaper in-state tuition rates if their parents are transferred and have to move.

This must change. Military service shouldn’t be considered a “hardship,” nor should it be discriminated against. It is a highly noble, volunteer pursuit, often thankless. And it should be honored and appreciated.
And then, there are our own government agencies, like CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). While our soldiers give their lives fighting terrorists over there, officials of these agencies here don’t even give a damn. They gladly let terrorists in and keep them here.
First, there are CBP officials in Orlando. Six CBP inspectors there–charged with checking those entering the U.S. there in terms of their immigration status and adherence with customs laws–said that CBP honchos forced them to rush through passengers entering the country, without checking them, and then enter false information on their paperwork. Like I said, our soldiers are fighting terrorists over there–and dying–while our officials here are letting them in.
And then, there’s ICE and it’s chieftess, . A Syracuse University study reports that, in the last three years, ICE has charged only 12 people with terrorist offenses in Immigration Court (known as the Executive Office for Immigration Review). While ICE may have charged other terrorists with other, more easily proveable offenses in Immigration Court, 12 is a paltry sum. That means only 4 terrorists per year. That’s embarrassingly low. They’re fighting terrorists over there–and dying–and we refuse to deport them in any significant numbers.
In the media, my friend, Peter Collier, writes in an excellent must-read Wall Street Journal piece, about how the New York Times spent 32 front-page days screaming and whining about Abu Ghraib, but not a single front page and hardly a mention to our military heroes who gave their lives in battle. Ditto for the rest of the media:

Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: Those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration. We support the troops, of course, but we also believe that war, being hell, can easily touch them with an evil no cause for engagement can wash away. And in any case we are more comfortable supporting them as victims than as warriors.
Former football star Pat Tillman and Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham were killed on the same day: April 22, 2004. But as details of his death fitfully emerged from Afghanistan, Tillman has become a metaphor for the current conflict — a victim of fratricide, disillusionment, coverup and possibly conspiracy. By comparison, Dunham, who saved several of his comrades in Iraq by falling on an insurgent’s grenade, is the unknown soldier. The New York Times, which featured Abu Ghraib on its front page for 32 consecutive days, put the story of Dunham’s Medal of Honor on the third page of section B.

Read his whole article, in which he details the bravery and courage of some of our Medal of Honor recipients.
But despite what American officials and institutions do at the top, the American people care about you, our soldiers, our fighting men and women. To all of our American soldiers, living and dead, we salute you, we pray for you, we appreciate you, and we thank you for fighting for our freedom and the continued existence of our beloved country. To those for whom Memorial Day is meant, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be free. Rest in Peace.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Graves of Some of Our Fallen Heroes at Arlington National Cemetery

Look up your relatives’/family’s military history (war records, draft cards, gravestone info) from 1607 through the end of the Vietnam War on’s U.S. Military Collection, free until the anniversary of D-Day, June 6th. It’s very cool. I found a lot of my Schlussel relatives’ military info dating back to the 1800s, including Col. Albert H. Schlussel of the U.S. Air Force, who served in WWII and Korea and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (FYI, the Military Collection is not complete, as I noticed many members of my family who were drafted (or enlisted) and served are missing.
(Thanks to the MySpace page of USMC 03 Curt, from which I got some of the photos on this page and where you will find many more touching pics of our brave men and women.)

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12 Responses

Miss Debbie,
Thank you for writing such a wonderful article on this day of reflection and thanks.
Our schools no longer teach American history and the meaning of this most important day. The memory of the sacrifices from our fine men and women have been reduced to a hotdog or burger from the grill. Very few people will even display our flag!
Thanks to all who have put on the uniform of our armed forces!!

newinnewark on May 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Memorial Day is also one of the most anti-war liberal hated holiday. Imagine how Cindy Sheehan must feel on this “dreafull” day. Guilty for being the party mongers that we are, we sort of take advantage of our soldiers who are sacrificing their lives for us.Unfortunately, Memorial Day is seen nothing more than a BBQ beach fest,forgetting the true meaning of it. We should pay our soldiers the respect and grattitude they deserve by commemerating this day with more sincerity and less folly.

Jew Chick on May 28, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Great article Debbie! God bless those troops. They are the better of us, and deserve a lot more than most of us give them.

markccu on May 28, 2007 at 5:57 pm

Thank you Debbie for the link to for the freebee, I forgot how much fun that site was. Found my girlfriend’s mother’s maiden name in twenty seconds, so much for that security feature.
The best part is that none of my relatives appear to have fought for the South in the Civil War. Had a very sad recollection coming across one relative’s service record who was killed about twenty years ago.
I just want to remind the South that they lost and my relatives helped beat them.
The records from the conflicts between the Civil War and WWI seemed to be absent, I’ll have to look more closely, but those were some very interesting tours for one relative.

code7 on May 28, 2007 at 6:26 pm

code7, what’s fascinating is that it took 10 TO 1 YANKEES TO BEAT US SOUTHERNERS. Just wanted to remind you.

steve ventry on May 28, 2007 at 10:07 pm

I knew Debbie would write a great post on the meaning of today. I’m sorry that there are so many injustices at the top though – such as the points she made about college tuition and the many hardships on military families.
Thank you for fighting for us! There are many of us who appreciate all your sacrifices. We will keep you in our thoughts every day until you are safely home again.

CarpeDiem on May 28, 2007 at 10:39 pm

The “Nattering Nabobs of Negativism” (aka the MSM and liberal elites) will never honor the troops as they deserve. Those who serve their country in the US military ARE better people than the NNN’s – and the NNN’s know it. For this reason, the NNN’s hate the military and do everything to undermine it.
This country is blessed to have so many men and women who are willing to purchase and defend our freedom with their blood. We will never be able to adequately honor and thank those who have made these great sacrifices.

WillPower on May 28, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Thank you, Debbie, for this fine article. I wish the idiot Bush would read it. He doesn’t understand or care about what being an American means.

lexi on May 28, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I suppose some sort of truce is in order with the SOUTH. I forgot my girlfriend is related to General Lee and if that doesn’t sting enough, she is still connected to two land grants given for fighting the Revolutionary War long before my relatives got here.

code7 on May 29, 2007 at 6:34 am

To be fair, Abu Ghraib was worth screaming and whining about for 32 days and more. What happened there was inexcusable.

TRiG on May 30, 2007 at 4:45 pm

on your list of retail school supply stores is an automatic.
Should you are tax exempt, you dont shell out taxes. Thats not a discount!

buying contacts on April 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm

The massage wasn’t from your spawn, right? Because that would be weird. Pleased belated Father’s Day. on April 25, 2013 at 5:36 am

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