Memorial Day: A moment of silence |

Memorial Day: A moment of silence

Luke Beasley and Kevin MacMillanSierra Sun
Sierra Sun file photoA solder salutes the flags last year at a Memorial Day service in Truckee.

You ask most people in their 20s or 30s, and theyll talk about extended weekends, beach tanning and margaritas. But its when you ask the 25-year-old man who just spent a year and a half sidestepping suicide bombers in the Middle East that you get a more poignant answer. Or maybe its the 80-something-year-old man who needs a few minutes to clear his head and think back to his time on a Naval ship during the second World War, before sharing stories of bravery and loss.And sometimes, its the 60-something year-old man who, through a slightly choked growl, tells you hed rather not respond about the days he spent in the Southeast Asian jungle four decades ago, dodging death.I dont like to talk about war. Its very difficult because of all the things that went on, said Incline resident Patrick McBurnett, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was wounded in the Vietnam War, when asked what Memorial Day means to him. But I guess it makes me think of the very brave young men that fought and died with me. The wonderful, strong, devoted black, white, Hispanic men, and it makes me very proud to have served with them.Unlike the commercialized norm that includes picnics, barbecues and a day off of work, in Incline Village, a community packed with war veterans, it means so much more.Three wars, never got a scratch or a cold. I was pretty lucky, said Crystal Bay resident Mark Alexander, a U.S. Navy Veteran. At Pearl Harbor, I left my room about five minutes before a bomb hit it. Unfortunately, my roommate lost his leg, but he ultimately became assistant secretary of the Navy.Throughout todays paper are quotes from local veterans, answering the question, what does Memorial Day mean to you?Quotes from people such as Manny Sylvester, a U.S. Army veteran who fought in the Korean War.Although Memorial Day is just considered another holiday, it is one of the few times we have an opportunity to remember the individuals who have died to give us the privileges and enjoyable lives that we have.Fifty years after Korea, the U.S. is fighting in Iraq in Afghanistan.But the message about the holiday hasnt changed.Remembering all the veterans of all wars who lost their lives for our country, said Aaron Tremblay, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who recently served in Iraq. And for me especially, its about remembering Lance Crpl. James Casper, who lost his life in 2004.

It means the same thing to everybody, but more so in so many cases. If you lost your buddy, its very difficult to answer the question. Because I came from the second World War, it means Decoration Day. It wasnt called Memorial Day then, when we grabbed our Red, White and Blue and went to the cemetery and visited our relatives that were in the service. But Memorial Day is a time to celebrate the memory of the fallen heroes of the days preceding us. Next year, it will mean someone else will have died. We give homage to the deceased veteran, the man who serves our country. Unfortunately, its been commercialized with picnics and barbecues, but the real meaning is remembering our fallen heroes. James Peterson, founder of the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Veterans Club; served in the U.S. Navy during WW IIThis day reminds us that we should honor the veterans for what they have done and remember that we still have to help them out as much as possible. Weve already raised $2,650 and sent it to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund so that children of the veterans who were killed or injured can still go to college. Were doing quite a bit here to help our veterans locally and nationally. We need to do as much as we can. Tony Chirico, president of the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Veterans Club; New York National Guard member, 1947-1954What it means to me is obviously a remembrance of past veterans that have died in the line of duty. It goes back to the Civil War when they used to commemorate what they called Decoration Day, where they honored those who died from both the North and South. Of course, todays its become a remembrance of all people who have passed away, from families and friends. Thomas Sullivan, a U.S. Army Sergeant; served in the Vietnam WarMemorial Day is a day for remembering our veterans those who have served, those who died in their service and those who are now serving our country. I especially remember the injured Vietnam veterans, some of whom I cared for during my first assignment from 1965 to 1969. I am enjoying being part of Military Officers Association of America now, because I have met and talked to many who served in all branches of the service, during wartime and peacetime. They have had interesting experiences to relate, some who were truly heroes. Their service is being remembered and honored every Memorial Day. Nancy Manter, president of Incline Village MOAA chapter; retired Lt. Col. in U.S. Air Force (Nurse Corps)Its a day of remembrance. I realize its changed over the years. Originally, it was just for veterans, but it seems to extend to a lot of families, recognizing their folks who were buried. I think its a lovely day, and I really hope people dont just treat it like a three-day weekend and forget what its all about. Chuck Merdinger, retired U.S. Navy Capt. (1937-1970); Pearl Harbor survivor (U.S.S. Nevada crew); veteran of three American warsRemembering all the veterans of all wars who lost their lives for our country. And for me especially, its about remembering Lance Crpl. James Casper, who lost his life in 2004. Aaron Tremblay, U.S. Marine Corps (2001-2005); served in IraqIts a day they honor the veterans, but we should probably honor them all year round. Its good to remind everyone of the sacrifices people made during all wars. I didnt think people realized during World War II, for example, what sacrifices people made. In just the 8th Air force, where I served, we lost 50,000 Air Crewmen, about 34 percent of the men flying missions over Germany. Harry Vandelander, United States Air Force; served from 1942-1945; was a World War II Bomber PilotIt means to me to remember a lot of good friends of mine that were killed in Vietnam. It memorializes a lot of fine people that were killed in previous wars, of course, too. But I have a personal thing about Vietnam, having served over there for two years. Its a very important day for me. Don Pierce, in Vietnam for two years; served 20 years as U.S. Air Force pilot Its really a time to acknowledge our heroes, the ones who are fighting for us and defending us. And they are continuing to do so in Afghanistan and Iraq today. Doris Haynes, a Sgt. in the Israeli Air Force, 1949-1953

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