On Memorial Day, we take the time to remember and honor the brave individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. As Abraham Lincoln eloquently stated, they have “laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom,” and it is upon us to pay our respects.
Among the courageous souls who have paid this dear price are Marine Lance Corporal Michael Allred, Army Sergeant First Class Ronald Wood, and Army Major Brent Taylor.
These valiant heroes gave their lives while serving in Iraq, fighting for the cause of freedom and proudly representing the Red, White, and Blue.
Michael Allred grew up in the beautiful Cache Valley of northern Utah. It is also where he rests in eternal peace. I had the privilege of calling Mike my friend, and to this day, I maintain a close bond with his family. The memories of my last meeting with Michael continue to leave a profound impact on me.
Ron Wood was a fellow soldier in the Utah Army National Guard and we served together in Iraq. As one of our squad leaders, he exhibited exceptional leadership skills and was highly regarded among our ranks. I can vividly recall the moment when the radio call reached me while I was manning our company operations center.
Brent Taylor was a friend and fellow soldier in the Utah National Guard. He was also the Mayor of North Ogden at the time he was killed in Afghanistan. His life was one of service, and since his death, his message has resonated around the country and even around the world. This is in large part to the efforts of his wife Jennie Taylor, who has since become a great friend and a fellow professional speaker.
WHY DO I KEEP SHARING?
Throughout the years, as I have written about each of these men on numerous occasions, you may wonder why I persist in sharing their stories.
The answer is quite simple.
I will never forget. I will always stand tall for those who served our country, especially when they can no longer stand for themselves.
For those who on the battlefields of war offered up the utmost sacrifice, from these “honored dead” as President Abraham Lincoln softly spoke at Gettysburg, may “we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
22 A DAY
There are many who have paid the ultimate price to defend the beautiful freedoms we enjoy. May we always honor their courage. May we always remember their sacrifice.
May we also never forget the 22 military veterans, on average, who are killed by suicide every day. Two of these were men I served with in Iraq, wounded by the mental scars of combat… Army Specialist Sheldon Loveless and Army Sergeant First Class Clyde Kramme.
I first met Clyde when he joined our unit not long after the start of our deployment. Over our nearly 18 months together, we got to know each other and became good friends, often enjoying long conversations about the normal parts of life. We lost touch after we came home and I was shocked when I heard he had died, and more shocked when I discovered how.
CIVIL WAR VETERAN PVT. JOSEPH CAIN
Nestled on the eastern side of the cemetery in Hyde Park, Utah, rests the obscure burial site of Joseph Cain, a Civil War veteran. The inscription on his tombstone reveals that Cain served as a private in Company B of the 50th Regiment in the Illinois Infantry. Born on September 30, 1841, he passed away on February 16, 1907.
My introduction to Private Cain came through Dorothy Cook Izatt, a resident of Hyde Park and a neighbor. When her father was a child, Cain had been friends with her grandfather.
Dorothy, a widow of a World War II veteran, felt a deep connection to Cain and diligently tended to his grave, along with those of other veterans, for numerous years. Prior to her passing in 2010, she entrusted me with the responsibility of caring for Cain’s resting place once she was no longer able to do so. It has been a privilege for to carry out this duty in her memory.
LET US NEVER FORGET
In honoring the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we also recognize the importance of preserving their memory and continuing their legacy. We can start by remembering their names.
- Michael Allred
- Ronald Wood
- Brent Taylor
- Sheldon Loveless
- Clyde Kramme
As we commemorate Memorial Day, let us not only remember each of these names represents a life dedicated to service and the defense of our country. Let us remember those who have fallen from the invisible wounds. We must strive to support our veterans and address the staggering statistic of 22 veterans lost to suicide every day.
By caring for the resting places of heroes like Private Joseph Cain, we honor the timeless bond that connects generations of servicemen and women. Let us carry on their memory, standing tall and resolved to ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.
Let us Never Forget.
Thanks for letting me share.
Have a beautiful Monday! I love you, friends!
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to Never Forget.
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