Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. On most days, Defense Industry Daily works to put out “daily news for procurement managers and defense contractors” by offering procurement news with perspective that puts it in context, discussing trends in the defense and security sectors, and bringing in relevant reports from the field. Today, we choose instead to spend a day saluting and remembering the people for whom we all do this – the soldiers, airmen, and sailors on the front lines.
Every Memorial Day, the Pentagon becomes a rallying point of a different kind, as it hosts one of the largest motorbike rallies in the world. “Rolling Thunder” pays tribute to those killed in Vietnam, and remembers the missing from all American conflicts. The number of riders has grown each year since the rally was first held in 1988 – last year, an estimated 400,000 motorcycles made the ride.
“Of course, Memorial Day is about remembering the sacrifices that our military men and women have made over the last 229 years. We are still a young nation, but one that has made many sacrifices to remain free. We should also take time to remember the families who have lost loved ones.
I have focused on just a few of the fallen over the last few years. I’ve lost three good friends during the War on Terror. And I write about the others to ensure that we don’t forget their sacrifices – I do that for me as much as for anybody. I can’t speak for the friends of the many others who have fallen, but for Mat, Cooter, and Mike, I can say this -“
Four Canadians killed by U.S. friendly fire in Afghanistan were honoured by their American fellow soldiers of 187th Infantry Regiment. Amid the echoing strains of a lone bugler and the sharp report of a 21-gun salute, the men’s names were unveiled in a granite block, part of the 187th’s memorial to members who have died in conflicts dating back to the Second World War.
Sgt. Marc Leger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Richard Green and Pte. Nathan Smith died April 18, 2002, when an American fighter pilot mistakenly dropped a bomb on Canadians who were conducting a night exercise near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The four men, who served alongside U.S. soldiers as part of Task Force Rakkasan, are the first non-Americans ever included on the memorial wall.
As part of his Memorial Day weekend features, MilBlogger “Greyhawk” offers “Per Liberta,” a memoriam to Italian Brigadier Giuseppe Coletta. Coletta, a Sicilian officer in the 13th Regiment of the Carabinieri (military police) of Gorizia, was killed in a Nov. 12, 2003 bomb blast in an-Nasiriyah, Iraq. “Greyhawk” is an active duty 20-year veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Sovereign Council of the Order of Malta has posthumously conferred on Brigadier Giuseppe Coletta the Gold Medal of Merit with Swords. The decoration acknowledges the value of the Brigadier’s work to the Order’s assistance to the Iraqi population, in particular to the children and families who received essentials such as food, medicine and scholastic materials.
“This morning I spoke at a Memorial Day ceremony held at the Travis County International Cemetery. A group of Hispanic vets tends the graves of indigent American veterans buried in the cemetery. The place is one of those plots of ground with a decidedly checkered past. In the 19th century it was a “paupers graveyard.” The county buried small pox victims at the site, and – according to one of the officers in Tejanos in Action – victims of a plague that struck in the early 20th century were buried there as well. I suspect the land served as “a Negro cemetery” and “a Mexican cemetery.”
Approximately twenty years ago Tejanos in Action started fixing up the cemetery and handling the burials of indigent veterans…”