As a veteran, grandson of a veteran, son of a veteran and father of two boys serving, I feel compelled to get more citizens to recognize Memorial Day for what it is: a day to honor the more than 1 million men and women who have lost their lives defending America. People like Marine Sgt. William Stacey, who was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed by an IED blast on Jan. 23, 2012.
Like many who go to war, Stacey left a letter “just in case,” to be read if something happened to him:
“My death did not change the world. It may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all. But there is a greater meaning to it. ... There will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the new schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader’s henchmen are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long. If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know it was all worth it.”
Please, take a break from your barbecues on Monday to ponder the true meaning of Memorial Day. Take a moment to say a prayer and reflect on the sacrifices that Sgt. Stacey made on behalf of all Americans. We owe it to him, and all those like him, who were willing to give their lives so that we could be free.
Craig S. DuMond
DuMond is undersheriff for Delaware County.