Arlington National Cemetery
This Memorial Day, many will take the opportunity to mark the beginning of summer by spending time with family and friends. However, I hope everyone takes some time to reflect on the true purpose of Memorial Day: to honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. After more than a decade of war and more than 6,800 American fatalities in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, it’s likely that every American family has been touched in some way by the death of a service member such as a brother, sister, relative, friend, colleague, or acquaintance.
Memorial Day always comes with some painful memories for many surviving veterans as we recall the sacrifices of soldiers and their families. Specifically, I remember Army Specialist Charles G. Haight from Jacksonville, Alabama. “C.G.” was a wheeled vehicle mechanic in the 14th Engineer Battalion who was killed by an improvised explosive device while traveling to assist a patrol tasked with finding and neutralizing IEDs. It was the day after Christmas in 2003.
More importantly, he was a husband and father. About six weeks prior to his battalion’s deployment, C.G. and his wife, Michelle, brought forth a son, Gabriel, into this world. Gabriel was 10 months old when his father died so he won’t have memories of his father. He will grow up only knowing that his Dad gave his life in service to our country to allow us to enjoy the lives and freedom that we have.
Hopefully, these sacrifices and the sacrifices of so many others will make this a better world in the long run.
Please take some time on Memorial Day to visit a Veterans’ Cemetery. Place flowers or a flag at the grave site of a veteran whom you knew. Or honor several veterans through participation in an event hosted by a local veterans group such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign War.
If you aren’t able to do any of that, then just set aside some time during our busy lives to remember and pray for those, who like Specialist Haight and his family, gave so much for our country.
Col. (Ret) John Eisenhauer Senior Advisor
Col. Eisenhauer was the 59th Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Portland District. He joined Dawson & Associates in 2014.