Today, let’s join with my fellow author Stan Hampton in remembering those who have served and those who have fallen in the service of the United States. We pray that everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend.
by SS Hampton, Sr.
Today is Memorial Day. It is a 3-day weekend for much of the country—a weekend of family get-togethers, BBQs, and great sales. That is fine.
But please do not forget the real meaning of Memorial Day. Though there had been several local observances, a national Decoration Day was created by “an organization of Union veterans” on 5 May 1868, to be observed on 30 May of that year by the nation in “decorating the graves of war dead with flowers.”
It was after World War I that Memorial Day came to recognize all of those who fought and died in America’s wars. From the American Revolution (1775-1783) to Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991), the total American combat deaths number 651,031; the greatest number of war dead was 291,557 suffered by the Greatest Generation during World War II (1941-1945) .
As for the Global War On Terrorism (2001-), or the Long War as some may call it, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System, 5,363 men and women have died in combat.
Unfortunately, the world is not a safe and secure place. Yet, we know that in our nation there will never be a shortage of uniformed volunteers willing to stand between unarmed men, women, and innocent children, and the senseless evil in the world.
On Memorial Day this year remember the “National Moment of Remembrance”—at 3:00 PM local time across the country, everyone is encouraged to take a moment to reflect on those who have given their lives for our country. Whatever war they fought in, all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice have names, whether those names loom large in history books or are known only to their families.
And some of us know the names of comrades who made that sacrifice during the GWOT.
Finally, if you have never heard Taps, the final farewell to fallen comrades, take a moment to listen. Take a moment to remember, and to whisper, “Good bye. And thank you.”
SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.
He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a third. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.
In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint). He is currently enrolled as an art student at University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.