Today, many of us seize this break from the normal Monday routine, to celebrate Memorial Day. We usually mark this celebration with a full slate of baseball and an afternoon cookout. However, this day holds far more meaning than getting together with family and friends. Today, as a nation, we stop to take notice and honor the sacrifices of those who’ve given their lives so that we can enjoy the cookout and ballgame …. along with other simple pleasures.
So, from the time Ken Griffey steps to the plate early this afternoon, or the moment Curt Schilling toes the rubber this evening, try to remember these guys are not heroes. To their credit, they’ve never asserted they are such models. They are men who play a game we love …. period. Our real heroes can be found within this very city and state.
Army Sergeant Brian Conner – Baltimore
Marine Corporal Norman Anderson – Parkton
Navy Petty Officer David Roddy – Aberdeen
Marine Corporal Nicholas Ziolkowski – Towson
Army Specialist Toccara Green – Rosedale
Army Specialist Kendell Frederick – Randallstown
Marine Sergeant Dwayne Williams – Baltimore
Marine Corporal David Branning – Cockeysville
Marine Corporal Jason Mileo – Pasadena
The above names represent those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for US. They were killed while serving our military, in Iraq. And, they are HEROES. There are thousands more Marylanders, just like these distinguished individuals, who’ve made the same sacrifice. Today, I honor them and all those who’ve given their lives to protect this nation; the greatest nation.
This Thursday, I’ll celebrate my 40th birthday. On Wednesday, May 31st, 1967, “Groovin,” by the Young Rascals was atop the charts. The Cincinnati Reds owned baseball’s best record. Carl Yastrzemski, a soon-to-be “Triple Crown Winner,” hit two homers against the Twins. The Orioles dropped a close game against Hoyt Wilhelm and the White Sox …. and I was born at St. Agnes Hospital.
Unfortunately, my father wasn’t there for the birth …. or for the first six months of my life. Instead, he learned the news a few days later, in a telegram, in the rice fields of Vietnam, while fighting in a war he was drafted into. As a credit to his character, my dad has never complained …. in fact, he never talks about it, at all. But, he was proud to serve his country.
I know that today he’ll be thinking of his comrades that didn’t make it home. There’s plenty of names on hundreds of monuments across this nation, recognizing the sacrifice and loss. Today, is their day. Great men and women have given their lives for us …. let’s give them and their memory a momentous tribute, fitting that of heroes.
Today is Memorial Day ….