We usually think of Memorial Day as the precursor to summer, a long weekend or a time to get the garden started; the real meaning is all too often forgotten. Memorial Day is more like a holiday for your memory, it is time to remember. Remember the souls that have sunk with ships, fallen from the skies, been trampled by calvaries and cut down by gunfire. Remember the men and women that have died in captivity, while assisting their injured comrades and while fighting to make sure you make it to the next Memorial Day.
I’ve come up with an easy challenge for you, all you need is a watch.
Why a watch?
Because it tells time.
Let me show you in military hours:
At 0630 on June 6, 1944, allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France. Although there is no exact known figure, over 2,500 US Soldiers died during the D-Day Invasion.
On December 7, 1941 at 0755, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and more than 1,000 service members were killed.
In 2007, there were 904 military casualties of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At 1030 on April 11, 1963, the Chief of Naval Operations went before the press corps at the Pentagon to announce that all 129 personnel onboard the USS Thresher had perished off the coast of Cape Cod during the vessels deep diving test.
The last American soldier killed in WWI was Private Henry Gunter who was killed at 1059.
At 1533 on December 11, 2013, the Defense Department identified Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez, 19, as the most recent marine to be killed in Afghanistan.
The first female members of the military were killed in the line of duty on May 20, 1917. Army nurses Edith Ayres and Helen Wood were killed while aboard the USS Mongolia en route to France.
Up to 1,000 soldiers died in the Bataan Death March of 1942. American and Filipino POW’s were forced to make a 65 mile trek to a POW camp. They had no food or water for the trip and many were shot or bayoneted because they attempted to sip water from the streams along the way or were too exhausted to complete the trip.
The Vietnam War began in 1955, more than 58,000 US soldiers were killed during the war.
On June 13, 2012, Cpl. Taylor J. Baune of Andover, Minnesota became the 2,000th casualty in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
At the Arlington National Cemetary, the Tomb Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed — the 21-gun salute.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. If you sat perfectly still and quiet for the entire day, all of those seconds would not add up to the number of deaths the American Military has suffered.
But you can wear a watch for 86,4000 seconds this Memorial Day, every time you look at it remember that a soldier has died for you.
As your watch continues to move forward, a soldier’s life may not.
There is a time for every thing. Every minute represents a death event in the history of the American Soldier. Let your watch stir your memory as their watch protects your freedom.
Do you have an important minute in the life of a soldier that you would like to add?