AMERICA DOESNT FORGET! This Memorial Day is the first one I have been home at since I deployed to Afghanistan for 8 mos, then Iraq for a year. A lot has happened in that time, to me, my family and my fellow Marines but I haven’t forgotten. I think about the warriors from past battles Inchon, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and wonder if they felt the same as us during this Memorial holiday. A time you let the faces of the warriors past stay a little longer in your immediate memory and stare at them and remember them. Here one minute and then gone so quickly the next, its incredible that they are gone. They were just here. America doesn’t forget. Your thoughts and grief follow through to their children and families who will be getting the word way to soon that their warrior has been killed in action. The knots in the stomach of the service members who are about to inform the families of their loss are no comparison to the pain the family is about to endure as their lives are changed forever. America does not forget. Our American warriors did not fight for glory, but to fulfill a duty. They did not want to be heroes, they wanted to see mom and dad again and to hold their sweethearts and to watch their sons and daughters grow. They desired the daily miracle of freedom in America, yet they gave all that up and gave life itself for the sake of others. You cannot ever let those warriors down by not continuing to raise their honor for what they have done for this country. Grieve if required but continue to honor them in a way that if they were here it would bring a smile to their face. That’s all they would have wanted. To be appreciated for what they have done and for you to be proud of them. To thank their fellow warriors who might need to hear it now and then, to raise the flag if it isn’t already posted on your porch and to tell their loved ones that they didn’t get to meet because they were off fighting when they were born, what they were like and how brave they were. We owe this to them, America doesn’t forget. For those that did go fight and are here now, be glad that you are home. Cherish it. Be glad you have someone thanking you and perhaps think of it this way, everything you do from now on, being fun, tuff or whatever the emotion, you do it for those that have paid the price in the past and cannot be here to feel it with you. That is one way to honor those who have fallen for us. America doesn’t forget. From Debra Youngblood (mother of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis L. Youngblood) I just read a few entries in your blog and I am so very glad I did. Since my son's death in Iraq, on July 21, 2005, I have been trying to reconcile my hatred of this war with my son's strong belief that what the troops were doing was the right thing in Iraq. I know that many people don't realize how much the troops have helped the Iraqi people. My son was a field medic with the II Marine Expendiary Unit, Lima company. He was wounded in Hit, Iraq on July 15, and died 6 days later in Iraq. Your words give me comfort not only for his convictions, but for the care he received. Many blessings to you. Debra S. Youngblood Capt B response: Ma’am- I just finished watching A&E’s special on 3/25. I visited them often at Haditha Dam and they were always pumped and excited. Your last name stays with me as I knew a young Marine with the same name in Hawaii when I served there in 1996. The position I held in Ramadi Iraq, was the sort that I knew of fallen warriors as soon as they were injured. Your sons name sticks with me in my gut and I can remember when I heard about him being first wounded as it made me think about the young Marine I knew in Hawaii. The medical attention he received was the very best and additional medical personnel were on him providing additional attention within seconds. When I heard he had past away I sat down in our CP, put my hands in my lap and thought about you, his family and knew his death was not in vain. As an infantry officer all of my Marines are my kids. Loosing one is like loosing apart of myself. Marines conducting operations in Iraq have made such drastic accomplishments; it will be a long time before people actually realize what they are doing there and in Afghanistan. Serving in Afghanistan for 8 months then home for 3, then sent to Iraq for a year, I have seen the progress that warriors like your son are doing, with my own eyes and that’s why I try to educate and show others what we are doing through my Blog. Like Iraq and the progress made, your son has helped make great gains with the Iraqi people, the country and especially his Marines. The Corpsman in the unit is a cherished person we all hold close to us and although he didn’t enlist to be a Marine, corpsmen are transformed and are one of us. Your son has made a difference and has helped change the world. My deepest gratitude and respect for the hero who has past and the one I write to. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Letter from Karen Mendoza (Wife of Marine Maj. Ramon J. Mendoza, Jr.) Family and Friends, I was honored to be in the presence of such fine Marines and Sailors last week. Ray's bronze star presentation was a time not grieve but reflect on the accomplishments made by the Echo Company Team. Yes, they were a team and Ray loved building that team. Ray believed that the most important leadership trait was LOYALTY. Echo Company performed to Ray's high standards and expectations because they were loyal to each other, their country and their Marine Corps. He was so proud to be their commander and I was so proud to share Ray's bronze star with all of Echo Company. A little blue box held the award, but it represented something bigger. Ray's LT's, 1st Sgt, Gunny and Plt Sgts stood with our family. Ray was the commander but the Marines made everything happen. He would have not received this award if it wasn't for their outstanding performance. I find great comfort knowing that his last days were with his "team". I ran across an article that was written about Ray in the 90's during his wrestling years at Ohio State. Ray mentioned one thing that stood out when he joined the OSU Wrestling team. It was how close the team was and he believed it was the catalyst to their successful season. What will always be true about Buckeyes.... they are always for the "team" and forever Loyal. The Echo Company team has earned the Bronze Star. The last line on Ray's headstone at Fort Rosecrans reads "Company E 2/1"... still loyal to his boys watching over them from heaven. Below is the link to an article that was in the base newspaper. Hope all is well with everyone... we're still pressing forward and adjusting to our new life. Blessings Always, karen To all of America’s hero’s HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY AMERICA DOESN’T FORGET! Semper Fidelis “More than duty� Capt B
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