On this beautiful Memorial Day, who do you remember?
I remember Myla Maravillosa.
She was a Sergeant, U. S. Army Reserve, born Bohol, Philippines, graduated Leilehua High School.
She was killed in action, December 24, 2005, Kirkuk, Iraq.
At her services, her mother, Estelita, told me Myla was at peace as she had done her duty, and asked that we not forget her.
Who do you remember?
I remember Robbie Peacock.
He was a Big Island local haole thru and thru. Handsome, athletic, open. Graduated from my school, Hawaii Prep, and from Dartmouth.
He was a Captain, U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, pilot, lost over North Vietnam, October 12, 1972, his remains never recovered.
Who do you remember?
I remember a young soldier at Landstuhl Army Hospital, Germany, 2003. A Hispanic-American from a small town in Texas; I don’t remember his name.
He was greviously wounded when his helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan just days before; many buddies had died. He’d lost an arm, and wondered how he could raise his kids.
I’d just finished rereading Sen. Inouye’s Journey to Washington. I told him the story about the Army nurse in the hospital tying her shoelace one-handed to show him it could be done.
I asked him what he needed. He said nothing, except not to forget his comrades.
Such a bittersweet day, Memorial Day.
Bitter with the taste of deep tragedy and loss. Sweet with love of country, of comrades.
But a day that calls us to rise above emotion also. To see our world for what it is and for what we can do to make it better.
We are asked to recognize that this is not about shared sacrifice. Most of us have never risked life or limb and will never have to.
But some must and will for all of us. That can’t be avoided.
We are asked to recognize the reality of what President Kennedy said. That’s it’s a “harsh but inescapable truth that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”
We are asked to recognize that democracy and freedom are built not on gain but on loss. We are asked only to remember, through memorials such as this, that today came at a great price.
Who do you remember? What do we remember? Will we remember today’s sacrifice tomorrow?