Monday, May 28, 2018

Mindfulness on Memorial Day 2018

Bataan Death March reading.
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. This day is set aside to remember those in our armed services who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation. The meaning of the day can easily become lost over a three day weekend of travel and barbecues. That is the reason why I've begun to set the day aside to intentionally remember and to learn about someone who has given their life during service to their country. Here I will review some of the books and movies that have helped me to do that.

For all of the families (children, parents, wives, and husbands) who have lost a loved one in service to our nation, you are in my thoughts today and every day. 

Bataan Death March


During my history classes in high school I remember learning about the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. I never heard about Japan also invading the Philippines and the war atrocities that took place there. It was only last year, while channel surfing, that I caught part of a documentary about the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. How was it that I had never heard of this! 

Also last year, I was seeing clips of a 75th anniversary Memorial Bataan Death March. This memorial march occurs annually at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. And I saw video of a Bataan Death March survivor walking the memorial march in Mexico.  

As a result of seeing bits of videos, I made it a point to teach myself more about what occurred in the Philippines to both Americans and Filipinos. And to remember the thousands who were held as POWs from 1942 to 1945 and the thousands who lost their lives during that time. 




Operation Redwings and the Lone Survivor


In 2005, a special reconnaissance mission was occurring in Afghanistan. Four Navy Seals were sent to the mountains on this mission and only one returned. Lone Survivor is ultimately the story of Marcus Luttrell and how he survived. He was saved by an Afghan village and a man in that village who hid Luttrell from the Taliban. Even though that story is about Luttrell's survival, it is also about how others gave their lives. Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson you are remembered.  As are those 16 people on the Chinook who lost their lives when it was shot down during a rescue attempt. 

I prefer the book over the movie because the movie is so condensed. You do not get the feel for the amount of time that passed as Luttrell was fighting for his life in the mountains. But both the movie and the book are a good way to remember those lost during that mission in Afghanistan. 




Practicing Mindfulness on Memorial Day 2017


Last year, I read World Changer: A Mother's Story: The Unbreakable Spirit of US Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn. You can see what I wrote about that story and about Memorial Day here

When someone makes the ultimate sacrifice, they leave families, friends, and battle buddies behind. I am always amazed when those left behind find a way to turn that loss into strength and good things. Karen Vaughn works tirelessly to honor her son's memory and is a dedicated spokeswoman for the current defenders of our nation.

photo courtesy via creative commons CC0


I hope that you are able to take a moment today, no matter your thoughts on politics and military, to think of those who have died in the service of our country.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

6 comments:

  1. Dawn Rae, this is a wonderful reflection of the sacrifice so many of our countrymen (and women) have given to keep us safe. We need to remember them on Memorial Day and every day. Your suggestions for learning about lives lost in wartime and honoring their memory are heartfelt and perfect for this Memorial Day. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like perfect reading not only for Memorial Day, but also for other holidays when we honor both those who gave all and those who have served and still serve.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, what a tribute. I'm so sorry I didn't get a chance to see it before today. I'm with you in the remembering what Memorial Day is all about and the ultimate sacrifice that was made by so many. Thank you for this wonderful tribute! I have tears in my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a wonderful way to focus on the real reason for Memorial Day. So many lives lost and survivor lives changed by the brutality of war. If only we would truly look at the past, perhaps we wouldn't always be so determined to rush headlong into another war. I know in this world, war is unavoidable, but we should stop, remember, and consider the cost. The books and documentaries would certainly be good places to start.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I truly appreciate the many ways you honor those who have served in the military. This week I have made it a point to be more reflective about the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women (and their families). Though many have served in my family, we are very fortunate to have not lost lives during that service. I'll have to read Lone Survivor. Thanks for the recommendation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mindfulness is a wonderful way to be tribute. The cost of war is so great, and those who gave their life are heros in many ways but mostly, their contribution should humble us.

    ReplyDelete