Reflect on sacrifice from veterans and their families on Memorial Day weekend

Posted 27 May 2021 at 9:12 am


Frank Buckles. Died February 27th, 2011.

He was the last American veteran of The Great War. World War One. The War to end all wars.

We know that was wishful thinking – Just a short 20 years later, the world would be mired in a conflict that would make the Great War seem like a sandbox scuffle at school.

Best estimates put the total number of deaths – civilian and military – between 30 to 40 million! As a child, my dad told me of a neighbor, at the start of the US involvement in World War II, five Blue Stars hung in the window. By war’s end, five Gold Stars had replaced the Blue.  In all over 16 million Americans volunteered or were drafted (for the duration of the

war + 5 years).

This weekend and holiday, as you sit down to your cookouts, or cramming stores for the best sales of the start of summer, I ask you to consider: By best estimates, there are now only 500,000 veterans of World War II left in the US.

The youngest of those are in their 90s. They are dying at a rate of 1,000/day – not counting the toll the pandemic is taking on them. Which at this rate, by Veterans’ Day 2022 the “Greatest Generation” who “Saved the World” will no longer be with us.

I ask each person who reads this to take a moment and walk through the Gardens of Stones, read the names, look up their battles, and truly be grateful for all that we have today. Is our world perfect? No. Not by a long shot. But it is much better than it could have been. And we owe that to those resting in Honored Peace.

I realize that Memorial Day is for the Fallen. (For veterans, every day IS Memorial Day). Veterans’ Day is for the living.

If you happen to be lucky enough to still have members of the Greatest Generation still with you, please spend time with them! Talk to them, learn from them! Too soon they will just be another reason why it is called Memorial Day and you will have missed out on learning from those who were there.


Steve Goodrich

Commander of Houseman-Tanner Post 1603