A bullet pinged past the soldier’s ear as he crouched behind bushes close to the frontlines. A soldier near him all of sudden lurched forward, letting the end a dreadful scream together he crumpled come the ground and died. All gave some, some offered all.

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On this Memorial Day, us honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice the we might be free to have actually “life, liberty, and also the pursuit of happiness,” as cutting board Jefferson to express it—or, together Tom Petty put it, to it is in “runnin’ under a dream.”

All of us likely have actually a attach to ours American military, previous or present. Mine starts at the battle of Trenton once Washington crossed the Delaware to surprise the slumbering Hessians the work after Christmas, 1776. Mine ancestor, man Hair, and also his Bucks ar (Pa.) Militia was wait to join basic Washington, but, by then, the river was too choked with chunks of ice for watercrafts to cross. Sgt. Hair saw action in other battles in the American Revolution.


David Acheson, a family members friend, and also my genealogical cousin john Burns were with the 140th Pennsylvania Regiment in ~ Gettysburg in 1863. They to be thrust into battle in the notorious wheat field, gold grain running red through blood. Capt. Acheson took intense fire native his flank, reeling as a bullet discovered its mark. He died nearly instantly.

Darkness descended, scores of wounded soldiers laying helpless ~ above the battlefield. As moans and groans and prayers floated upward, they painfully crawled toward each other, collection in little clusters to encourage each various other to endure till morning. Bye messages for their families were pass on, to be yielded by those who did survive.


When the Spanish-American war erupted in 1898, my missionary cousin saw releasing Cuba indigenous Spanish manage as America’s entry onto the an international stage. He wrote: “The war with Spain marks a new epoch. America is on the course of righteous empire. God offers his world the power and intelligence to carry his will into execution. American proposed because that Cuba, but God disposed for all mankind.” civilization War I listed the chance for this vision the America’s global power come materialize.

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Uncle Carroll Hosbrook, one Ohio farm yard boy, joined basic John Pershing’s American Expeditionary force in 1918 for the fatal trench warfare of north France. Month later and also just hours after the Armistice was signed on November 11, Carroll satellite on the steps of a bombed-out church whose bell to be still able come ring the end victory, composing a letter home. “The Yanks gave the Huns a good hot chase. They will now think twice prior to going to battle again. I never thought one’s part in a war would be such a tiny part. However it is true once you say you are going to execute your bit—it is a tiny bit.”

The D-Day intrusion of June 6, 1944, was the pivot suggest of world War II. My friend Hal’s unit landed the next day, June 7, and also he was tasked to go back to Omaha coast to retrieve a item of equipment. Tears welled increase in Hal’s eyes together he associated the story come me, reliving being there alone ~ above the beach with hundreds of dead comrades that had given their lives for ours country. All offered some, some offered all.

When the korean War broke out in 1950, my brother’s best buddy, Leigh Whitaker, was sent there as an army medic. His unit was overwhelmed by a pre-dawn attack south the Seoul, Leigh being among the few survivors. Because that 38 months, he was detailed as an MIA, absent in action, dropping to 85 pounds when tending to wounded prisoners. Ns was listening come the radio late at night in respectable 1953, as soon as the final few lists the returning prisoners were being read. “Charles Leigh Whitaker, Ohio.”

I jumped out of bed to wake up mine parents and also sister. “Leigh’s comes home.”

Of course, plenty of did not come home, some 36,000 in Korea, 58,000 more in Vietnam, lesser numbers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and also Syria. However the full sacrifice of our American army in all battles is a staggering 1.3 million men and also women.

Many lay hidden overseas and also some in the sea, consisting of at Pearl port (our family’s first house was bought indigenous a man who lost two sons, his just children, on the USS Arizona). Us honor the sacrifice of all these heroes on Memorial Day.