BEATRICE – A Hallam resident who serves with the Offutt Air Force Base National Airborne Operations Center told a Beatrice Memorial Day audience the observance day looks somewhat different than it once did.
"In many cases our backyard barbecues and get-togethers are replaced by video chats and other marvels of modern technology. Still, we hold onto some semblance of what life was and what we know it will return to. And the memories and emotions this day brings are always the same. For countless families across the nation, Memorial Day is a stark and often painful reminder of those who were never afforded the opportunity to be honored as Veterans for their service to our country. This sacrifice is a true expression of selfless service....one that no one would pick for themselves."
Lieutenant Colonel Ed Davis said the courage and grace of families who have lost someone to war, is inspiring. He said when a family sends someone off to battle, it is an all-too-real possibility that a uniformed military officer and a chaplain may show up at a doorstep to deliver devastating news.
Davis said since Memorial Day began, more than 626,000 have given their lives for their country…with another 82,000 missing in action and unaccounted for.
The Lieutenant Colonel said this Memorial Day marks the 20th consecutive year the U-S has personnel serving abroad in what is considered wartime.
"About two-point seven million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan...and over half of them deployed more than once. Those who returned are now our community members, neighbors and friends. In fact, I'm confident that if you take the time to learn about any Veteran where you live, you'll be floored by the stories of service and sacrifice, known only to those who witnessed it, firsthand."
Davis paid tribute to service members who have stepped up this past year, during a time of civil unrest, hurricanes, fires and Covid-19. Davis specifically mentioned National Guard members who have been on the front line assisting during the pandemic.
"Despite the danger and risk, they stood up and delivered supplies, providing testing and assisted in vaccinating more than ten million Americans, to date. The sacrifices made by these Guard men and women in service to their country is particularly noteworthy. These are part-time soldiers and airmen whose lives are deeply entwined with their community, where they live and work, celebrate and mourn their families, neighbors and co-workers. When they don the uniform and deploy in support of their nation, it's not just the families that feel the loss. It's felt by the entire community."
Lt. Colonel Davis asked those attending the ceremony at Evergreen Home Cemetery to pause and remember those who have, in his words, “made possible all of your tomorrows.”
Veterans, their service organizations, the Gage County Veterans’ Service Office and the American Legion Riders were among those participating in Monday morning’s ceremony.