Your Memorial Day greetings
Capt. Christy J. Kisner sends greetings from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
(CNN) -- This Memorial Day, CNN.com wants to hear your greetings to or from U.S. troops. Here's a sampling of the responses, some of which have been edited. Who are you honoring? E-mail us.
On this Memorial Day I would like to say thank you to all of those who have served or are serving in our military. A special thank you to those who have experienced the ultimate sacrifice of losing a loved one in the fight for our freedom. My husband is home after spending a year in Iraq. I want to thank the American people for all of the support they give to the U.S. troops!
I want to wish a Happy Memorial Day to my love and hubby, Sgt. 1st Class Gary Bartlett, who has been deployed with the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in Iraq since 2005. I love and miss you, honey, and can't wait for you to come home!
My son is a Marine, deployed to western Iraq on his second tour. He is a radio operator attached to the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. I would like all the troops to know we are thinking of them on this Memorial Day weekend, and we pray every day for their safety.
My teenage son Josh and I attended a wreath-laying ceremony in our town of Chesapeake, Virginia in honor of our war dead. There were fewer than 200 chairs set up for the ceremony, and many of them remained empty. Many of the attendees were veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During the ceremony, thousands of motorists drove by on the main road, and I'm sure many of them were looking at us and wondering what was going on. I suspect most of them were going to cookouts, shopping mall sales and other places to take advantage of their three-day weekend.
Just before the ceremony began my son looked at me and said he didn't know what it was like to lose someone he loved in combat but that he did know what it was like to worry about losing someone he loved in combat. He was referring to my one year in Iraq, and his comments brought tears to my eyes. The ceremony brought many more tears to my eyes as I thought of each of the 13 brave Americans that died in Iraq while under my command. I wondered what their families were doing, and I knew they were in pain as they thought of the unfairness of war and the pain of not having their loved ones with them. I doubt they had a lot of fun at cookouts and store sales.
I'm sure many of you likewise participated in ceremonies Monday, and many others honored our war dead in other ways. Unfortunately, many in America either never understood the meaning of Memorial Day or just simply didn't stop for a couple of minutes and thank God for the heroes who gave their lives so we can be free. I heard one person ask another a few days ago what they were doing to "celebrate" Memorial Day. Our waitress in a restaurant Sunday after church told us to "have a good Memorial Day." I am sure both comments were made by well-meaning people, but they just don't get it.
Despite our problems, we live in the greatest country on earth. Regardless of everyone's personal feelings on the war in Iraq, please always remind people to separate the soldiers from the politics. My dad was a World War II veteran, part of the "greatest generation" and the greatest person I ever knew, but I led thousands of soldiers in combat who were just as brave and just as special to their families as my dad was to me. The meaning of Memorial Day changed for me because of Iraq, and the 13 who I failed to bring home deserve to be honored every day, not just one day a year.
My little brother, Cpl. Roy VanCamp, left for Iraq in July 2004, just two months after coming home on emergency leave to bury his best friend, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith. They graduated high school together and went into the Marine Corps together. When Roy came home from Iraq in January 2005, you could immediately see the change in him. We could all see that a part of him would never come home from there. Now he is deployed overseas again in a dangerous area and we do not know exactly where. We love and miss him so very much. He is a golden light in our lives, and we pray for his swift and safe return. God bless him and all our armed forces. Happy Memorial Day! And may our fallen rest in peace knowing we are safe because of their sacrifice. We love you Roy!
We are pleased to be able to make this Memorial Day tribute to the 248 soldiers of the 101st Airborne and crew who died when their plane crashed December 12, 1985 in Gander, Newfoundland. They were returning from peacekeeping in the Sinai. Our son, Spc. Rodger L. Wilson, 19, was one of them. So many good men and women served our country with their ultimate sacrifice. You will always be in our thoughts. Prayers to the families. And thank you one and all to the current and past veterans.
I just saw the clip from the family in Westfield, Massachusetts. I am originally from western Massachusetts, and we too are taking care of our 6-year-old grandson while our daughter is on her second deployment to Iraq. This morning, I sent Memorial Day e-mail cards to our daughter, Sgt. Melissa Dion, her friend, Sgt. Karrie Schroder and their captain, Tracy Coffin. Capt. Coffin opened hers first and sent me a big thank you and said I made her day. Five minutes of my time to send a couple of e-mails made her day. I hope anyone who reads this realizes how little it takes to make the difference in a soldier's day. Write a letter, an e-mail, send a box of goodies, call a family member of a deployed soldier to see how they are, make a difference.
I remember and honor the service of my following family members: Our son who is in the Navy and presently deployed with the USS Abraham Lincoln. His grandfather, John J. Quinlan (deceased), who flew 26 missions with the U.S. Army Air Force over Germany in World War II. My father-in-law (deceased), who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. My wife's three brothers, all of whom served in the U.S. Air Force. My wife's nephew, who is in the Illinois Air National Guard. My nephew, who is in the Marines and who has done one tour in Iraq and is leaving soon for another. And several cousins who are presently in the Army or Marines. Lastly, I am proud to have served my country in the Army in Vietnam and later in the U.S. Navy for 17 years. Our family has done our duty to the nation, and we hold our heads high this Memorial Day.
I would like to honor my son, Pfc. Kenneth D. Kimball. This is his second tour in Iraq as a combat medic. He is so proud to serve his country and to be able to help his fellow soldiers. He has treated many Iraqis as well. I can't say enough how proud I am of him and all the soldiers who so willingly risk their lives. My heart and prayers have been with the fallen, wounded and those still serving and their families. God bless them!
It's with bittersweet emotion that today (Memorial Day) is the last full day I will spend with my Marine son before he deploys to the Middle East. He is very excited but I am scared (and proud). I am happy for those who have come home and [for] their families and look forward to my son's homecoming next year. Regardless of what my opinions of the war are, I commend our brave troops for the sacrifices. I don't know how many people are truly aware of the long hard hours our troops put in and how brave they are.
As a wounded veteran who lost fellow troops during a tour of duty in Iraq, I understand the importance of having a grateful nation. The thank you's, prayers, and kind words spoken to myself and my family members helped me on my way to recovery. When I left for Iraq, I expected to come back as a well-rounded combat veteran or with a flag draped over my coffin. Never did I think that my body and soul was going to endure shrapnel wounds and third-degree burns over 40 percent of my body that kept me unconscious for two weeks.
Due to the severity of my injuries I had to learn to walk and use my hands again. After being so independent during my military service right out of high school, all of the sudden I had become very dependent of those around me. More than a dozen surgeries later and 20 months at Brooke Army Medical Center, my road to recovery is still ongoing. ... While learning to adapt to my disability, I had to accept limitations, but I also found a grateful nation. Today's military service members choose to serve and are usually reluctant about taking thanks from others for their selfless service. After my injury I was able to see how deeply affected my family and friends were. From my own anger at being hurt and seeing the pain of my loved ones, alongside the difficulty of witnessing fellow wounded troops in the medical hospital, I learned to reshape and refocus my thankfulness of having a patriotic country.
When you read an article mentioning troops killed in action, try to find the number wounded in action too. Over 18,800 have been wounded during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must not forget these men and women who volunteered to risk their life and limbs for our nation. This Memorial Day, their physical and emotional scars will not let them forget you, your safety, and why they served.
I'm Korean, whose father fought in the Korean War in the 1950s. I must not forget the precious sacrifice of about 50,000 American soldiers who died for our country they even hadn't heard of before they came to fight. I heard from my father and I know that if it had not been for their priceless help, my father could not have survived that bitter Korean War and I could not even have been born!
I am now serving a small American church in Louisville as music minister. Yesterday I told the congregation that I thank God for sending American troops to my country, and thanked them also.
On this Memorial Day, I want to specially thank you all Americans, because the sacrifice of war veterans is not only their sacrifice, but also the sacrifice of all Americans.
You gave us freedom to live, and moreover freedom to believe in God, so that we have the eternal life! Thank you!
I am from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the place you featured in a story this past week. My wife is in the Air Force and I am grateful she is here with us this weekend. Two years ago, she was in Iraq and I was left here with our firstborn, 6-month old son. On this Memorial Day, I would like to send the following message to our nation:
It's always good to remember those who have given you even a little of their time, but we forget so easily. The families of the fallen heroes, as the day passes, so are they forgotten by society, and they are facing the reality of the absence of their loved one by themselves. They are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters; cousins, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts; husbands and wives, fiancÚs, sons and daughters, and best friends to someone.
The fallen are the people that we know, who are dear to us, they are our colleagues and comrades. They are the people who used to go to my church, your church, the people who used to be in our community, our neighbors. They have given the ultimate sacrifice for you and me, for our community, for our neighborhood that we may have what we have, peace and prosperity; that some people like me can achieve the American dream.
We remember you, the fallen, and we pray for your families. We also hope and pray that the surrounding communities and our society will check on your families and take care of the loved ones that you have left behind. By doing this your legacy will be kept alive, not only in Memorial Day, but each day that we are enjoying our freedom and prosperity as a nation, as a community, and as neighbors.
May God bless the grieving and wounded heart on this Memorial Day.
We are honoring our son, Lt. Rob Curylo, who is serving at [Camp] Warhorse, Iraq. We also honor all those who serve alongside him and all who came before him. Let's all remember to honor those who sacrificed for our freedoms and our security. Yes, let's have our picnics and Memorial Day parties, but let's remember those who gave of themselves so that we could enjoy the abundant lives we live in this grand country of ours.
Greetings from Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq. Happy Memorial Day! God bless.
My husband, Col. Jake Hansen, will be returning home on July 1 after a one-year tour in Iraq. He is active-duty Army and is in command of DCMA Iraq. This is the organization that administers the KBR contracts for troop sustenance. It has been a lifetime ago that he left, and we will be so thankful to have him home. The kids have grown at least 4 inches, I probably have carpel tunnel syndrome from all the e-mailing and my post office and stamp bills will definitely go down! This Memorial Day certainly has more meaning.
The question on "Reliable Sources" was who I was honoring this Memorial Day. I am honoring my husband, William G. Brown. He was in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Philippines. He has shared his brave experiences of this time with me. We are now enjoying our retirement together.
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