They came to us as chubby cheeked sons and daughters. We rocked them, taught them to walk and ride a bicycle, helped them with homework and then waved as they went off to fight a war that was supposed to fix everything in the world that was wrong.
Over the history of our Country, almost three quarters of a million of our children did not return.
My grandparents sent three of their five children off to fight in World War II. They lost their two youngest sons, ages 19 and 23.
Staff Sergeant John Sweet, 493rd Bomber Squadron, 7th Bomber Group, was on a bombardment mission from Pandaveswar, India, to Moulmein, Burma, when his B-24 Liberator crew was attacked by an enemy formation and crashed into the Bay of Martaban. His service and sacrifice are remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in the Phillippines.
Staff Sergeant Allen Sweet, 301st Infantry Regiment, 94th Infantry Division’s unit was expanding the Saarburg bridgehead, protecting the 10th Armored Division’s right flank and blocking the enemy’s escape from Trier, Germany, when he fell.
Our recent trip to Luxembourg was to see my Uncle Allen’s grave. I took two photos including one of my grandparents and one of my uncle and his four siblings and leaned them against the headstone so that my grandparents and their children could be together one last time.
He is buried along with over 5,000 of his fellow soldiers and his commanding officer, George Patton.
Several years ago, I enrolled my uncles in the database at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This year I found the Gold Star Family Registry where a soldier’s information and photo can be entered along with a personal tribute. If you have lost someone in any war since World War II, I would suggest checking this site out.
There are so many brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us to live in the “…land of the free and the home of the brave” that it always seems fitting to take time out every year to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day.
As long as we remember, they are not forgotten.
The American Battle Monuments Commission honors the service, sacrifice and achievements of United States armed forces by maintaining 24 cemeteries, 25 memorials, monuments and markers in 15 countries.