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On Saturday I spent several hours at a get-together in York PA hosted by FreePA. There were several speakers. One speaker, fellow veteran James Jones, mentioned how people say “Happy Memorial Day”. He then went on to explain why there is nothing happy about it. Very true. People often confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

For many, Memorial Day is simply a weekend to celebrate the beginning of warm weather and get together with family. My son-in-law, a former Army officer, put it best when he texted an invitation. …let’s get together to honor our fallen comrades. For those of us who served and especially for those who lost people, Memorial Day has a very different feeling.

Retired law enforcement and military friend, Patrick Cubbage spoke after that. He gave a prayer at the end and asked people who lost fellow veterans to call out their names. Then the group would say “may they rest in peace.” Very few mentioned a name. I would have read the names below but it was over before I could get to it.

Just so they are not forgotten here they are:

  • Maj. Paul Weaver
  • Capt. Cliff Bland
  • Capt. Arthur Galvan
  • Capt. William Grimm
  • Capt. Dixon Walters
  • Senior Master Sgt. Paul Buege
  • Senior Master Sgt. James May
  • Tech. Sgt. Robert Hodges
  • Tech Sgt. John Oelschlager
  • Staff Sgt. John Blessinger
  • Staff Sgt. Timothy Harrison
  • Staff Sgt. Damon Kanuha
  • Staff Sgt. Mark Schmauss
  • Sergeant Barry Clark

May they all rest in peace. Comments welcome as we remember our fallen.

Background on the names above

This is the crew of Spirit 03, an AC-130 Gunship that was shot down during Gulf War 1. My Unit flew the EC-130 but we were stationed with the AC-130 guys. Gulf War 1 ended about 1 year before Air Force Special Operations Command was founded. However, we were all doing our Special Operations thing long before they gave us a name and a cool Command patch to put on our uniforms. I proudly wear that patch on some shirts today and have it tattoed on my upper right arm.

All those names listed above were guys I used to drink coffee and smoke with before the night flights. To this day I recall clearly how Dixon & the others used to like to accentuate the enunciation of Buege’s last name. That one still makes me smile to this day in spite of the tragic loss. I could go on and on about this incident but I’m sure many of you have your own list of names and memories.

We have also lost many others to non-combat death over the years. The point of Memorial Day is to remember those who paid the maximum. For many of us, this is not a happy day, it is one filled with memories of good people lost. Try to remember that if you run into a veteran who seems a bit more stoic on this day.

Below is a short video by a fellow veteran for Trump, Dr. Rick Saccone on Memorial Day. 

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