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Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Red Poppies Symbolize War Dead and Memorial Day

This month, America honors the sacrifice of the brave men and women who lost their lives in our nation's wars. It is extremely important that we parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and neighbors, do as much as we can to emphasize to our loved ones the importance of this special day.

We can honor our war dead by taking our families to ceremonies at Veterans' cemeteries and at military bases. We can also inform the younger generations of some of the many stories of heroic and noble acts by American soldiers throughout history. These stories are in excellent documentaries and movies, some of which I will list. Later in this article, I will also share how my husband and I give honor and recognition to a certain soldier, every Memorial Day weekend.

It is disappointing when we talk to a younger person who has no knowledge whatsoever of the meaning of Memorial Day. We must each do our part to not allow that ignorance within our own families.

Sgt. Sie Edwards

In our home, every Memorial Day weekend, we display a photo of Sgt. Sie Edwards died in the Philippines on June 18, 1942, during the Bataan Death March. Sgt. Edwards is not a family member and we knew nothing about him until about ten years ago when we found his framed photo in an antique store in Phoenix. It appears to us that his parents once had this framed photo with the sympathy card from General Marshall, and also an aged and yellowed newspaper article. The article tells us that Sgt. Edwards was from Sweetwater, Texas.

The information for the article came from another prisoner who was with Sgt. Edwards when he died.

Sgt. Edwards was initially reported missing in action until another prisoner/soldier, Cpl. Whittington, contacted military officials after his release from a prisoner-of-war camp when the war ended. Cpl. Whittington also personally contacted Sgt. Edwards' parents.

Every Memorial Day weekend, we place Sgt. Edwards's photo prominently on the kitchen island. As a result, many have read about him.

When we purchased the photo, my husband contacted the local Sweetwater newspaper in an effort to find a family who might want to have the photo. The newspaper printed an article; however, no one responded. 

Total War Dead, not including all wars:

  • Vietnam War:58,209 Americans
  • Korean War:36,516 Americans
  • World War II:405,399 Americans
  • Iraq War:4,550 Americans
  • Afghanistan War:2,401 Americans

The following is a sampling of the losses in one battle or initiative alone:

  • The Battle of Gettysburg, Civil War:7,863Americans
  • The Battle of the Argonne Forest, WWI: 26,277 Americans
  • The Battle of Saint-Mihiel, WWI:4500 Americans
  • The Battle of Okinawa, WWII:12,513 Americans
  • The Battle of the Bulge, WWII:19,276 Americans
  • The Battle of Anzio, WWII:5538 Americans
  • The Pusan Perimeter Battle, Korean War:5000 Americans
  • D-Day Alone, WWII: 2,499 Americans

A few of the many outstanding movies and documentaries:

  • The War, WWII documentary series, by Ken Burns
  • Band of Brothers, television mini-series, WWII Ardennes Offensive
  • Hacksaw Ridge, movie, WWII Battle of Okinawa
  • Platoon, movie, Vietnam War
  • Hamburger Hill, movie, battle in Vietnam War
  • All Quiet on the Western Front, movie, WWI

Americanism – Berta Lockhart

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