Magazine article VFW Magazine

Memorializing War's Dead

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Memorializing War's Dead

Article excerpt

After 10 years, the time is long overdue for a national memorial effort on behalf of the Americans killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. BY THE EDITORS

"In the end, there is a big parade and a monument built to immortalize us in stone," Army Sgt. Michael C. Carlson wrote years before his death in Iraq in 2005. Marine Lance Cpl. John Romero seconded the notion. In a letter to The Santa Fe New Mexican, he wrote: "It would bring me comfort knowing that, if I were to fall, my name would last through the ages for all to see."

Both these servicemen voiced the warrior's age-old fear that their sacrifices might be forgotten. It is the obligation of those who survive, no matter what their war, to see to it that these fears are not realized.

It is inexcusable that veterans should have had to wait 60 years or 42 years, as those of WWII and Korea did, to see their fellow warriors immortalized in stone.

The 184 Americans (55 of them military) killed at the Pentagon were honored with a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery within a year of Sept. 11, 2001. And in 2008 another memorial ($32 million) was dedicated to them on the Pentagon grounds.

At least two states, Oregon and Ohio, have either publicly or privately built memorials to the wars. Also, two private efforts- the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in Marseilles, 111., and the national War on Terror Memorial in Hermitage, Pa.- list all the names from both conflicts.

"I felt that by doing this, it might encourage the government to do something down the road," said Tom Flynn, founder of the memorial in Hermitage. 'We can't forget these people. Their sacrifices can't be understood until you've learned who they were and where they came from."

Years ago, John Hughes, then-editor of the Deserei Morning News in Utah, wrote in the Christian Science Monitor: "They deserve to be honored by all Americans. …

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