Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Our family tradition on Memorial Day is to visit a cemetery to remember those who died serving our country. As the children have gotten older we have added a Memorial Day ceremony to the day's visit. A small, nearby cemetery had just such a ceremony, with singing, bagpipes, twenty-one gun salute (Civil War era muskets), and speeches and prayers.

We had a very nice talk with a WWII Army Air Corp veteran who served as an airplane mechanic for small spotter airplanes in the war in the Pacific. Cindy spoke with his wife, who revealed that she and her husband were sitting in front of their own grave marker--that's planning ahead!

A couple of years ago I was moved when I found WWII veteran, John Norio Ogawa, who lost his life in the closing days of the war. Today we found the grave of a Marine who lost his life in Vietnam. His name is Steven DeWitt Baker, and this is his citation for his Silver Star:

"The President of the United States takes Pride in presenting the
Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Steven Dewitt Baker (2151521), Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Squad Leader with Company F, Second Battalion, Third Marines, FIRST Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. During the early morning hours of 28 May 1968, while occupying a defensive position southeast of Khe Sanh, Company F came under heavy attack by a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Corporal Baker commenced delivering accurate grenade launcher fire on the hostile force. Although seriously wounded, he ignored his painful injury and fearlessly maneuvered from one position to another, inflicting numerous casualties on the enemy. Observing an injured comrade lying in a position dangerously exposed to the intense fire, Corporal Baker unhesitatingly moved across the fire-swept terrain and moved the man to a covered position. Continuing his determined efforts, he boldly directed a heavy volume of fire on North Vietnamese soldiers within twenty meters of his position until he was mortally wounded. His heroic actions and sincere concern for the welfare of his fellow Marines were an inspiration to all who observed him and contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission. By his courage, bold initiative and selfless devotion to duty, Corporal Baker upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

I am very thankful for the service and sacrifice of our current service people and past generations.


Sarah said...

Wow, this was so touching. That's so great you are taking the kids to learn and experience this. Great job =)

- Sarah

Pudgy Pencils said...

I second that, Love the idea of visiting a cemetery to find out stories. I think we may just add that one too, great idea :) Thanks!