Each year on Memorial Day, we paused to remember and pay tribute to those true Americans who gave their lives on foreign soil in different wars defending the U.S.A. so we at home can continue to be a free society with all the blessings.
For some of us, we served side-by-side with so many and we remember those that did not come home with us, but we carry their memory within us each day.
Each year, I remember some of the 58,000-plus U.S. soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who failed to make it home from Nam.
I was one of the fortunate ones who made the trip home.
After serving two tours of duty in various combat zones, beginning with the Landing of Chu Lai on May 7, 1965 then Operations Starlight, DeNand and KheSanh, I returned to the Navajo Nation (USA) my tour of duty completed.
Today, the world knows the "welcome home" we received.
That oversight, I, along with so many, was forced to live with so many years, and I failed to understand that I have been disturbed by the fact that 58,000 of my comrades-in-arms who made the ultimate sacrifice--gave their lives for their country, the country they all loved--may have been forgotten.
These true Americans were not asked to moralize, to rationalize or to analyze the right or wrong of our country's decision to become involved in a conflict so many miles away from home. They merely responded like loyal Americans. No questions asked. Just É duty calls.
The Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., is a living memorial to all those great Americans whose lives were lost in the Vietnam War. Their names are inscribed on the wall, a humble but honest attempt to honor and salute the 58,000-plus servicemen and women.
They were true Americans, brave, courageous and loyal. They should never be forgotten. And Much more, They should be remembered.
So, this Memorial Day 2005, remember them by cleaning their resting place, maybe post new colors or flowers, for they should never be forgotten.
Richard K. Begay,
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