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Stop To Salute On Memorial Day

The Way I See it

May 28, 2017
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A few years ago, a captain in the United States Army was driving along a very familiar route when he noticed that traffic was backed up at Fort Campbell, Ky., and was moving way too slowly. The Captain was going to be late and he grew more and more impatient.

The pace slowed almost to a standstill as he passed Memorial Grove, the site built to honor the soldiers who died in the Gander airplane crash, the worst redeployment accident in the history of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Because it was close to Memorial Day, a small American flag had been placed in the ground next to each soldier's memorial plaque.

Article Photos

John Sheda

The Captain's only concern at the time, however, was getting past the bottleneck, getting out of the rain and getting to his meeting on time.

All of a sudden, infuriatingly, just as the traffic was getting started again, the car directly in front of him stopped and

A soldier, a private of course, jumped out in the pouring rain and ran over toward the grove.

The Captain couldn't believe it and was incensed at this knucklehead holding up everyone for who knows what kind of prank. Horns were honking and drivers shouting, the Captain included, who now couldn't wait to see the butt-chewing that he was going to give this Private would for making him late.

The Private was getting soaked to the skin. His uniform completely plastered to his frame. Then the Captain witnessed a most remarkable feat, as the Private ran up through this terrible downpour to one of the memorial plaques and picked up the small American flag that had fallen to the ground in the wind and the rain, and set it upright again.

Then, slowly, the Private came to attention, saluted, ran back to his car, and drove off.

People got out of their cars and clapped for what this Private had just done. That soldier, whose name no one will never know, taught everyone that day, including the Captain, more about duty, honor, and respect than a hundred books or a thousand lectures.

That simple salute - that single act of honoring his fallen brother and his flag - encapsulated all the Army values in one gesture for.

It said, "I will never forget. I will keep the faith. I will finish the mission. I am an American soldier."

This Memorial Day, we thank God for examples like that.

And on this Memorial Day, we should, no, must never forget all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and one private, soaked to the skin, who honored them.

God bless America and God bless our fallen soldiers and their families on

this Memorial day.

jsheda@indytel.com

319.327.4640

 
 

 

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