For many of us Memorial Day is the official start of summer vacation – let’s get out the grill! Hamburgers and hot dogs are eaten along with sister Donna’s famous potato salad, mountains of chips and bottles of pop. There’s nothing wrong with having a fun day off from work, but do we remember why we celebrate this holiday and what it truly means? The reason we are able to enjoy ourselves with our grills and badminton games is that some gave their all so that we might have the freedom to live life to the fullest in the way of our choice.
The handsome young man in the photo above is my uncle, my mom’s brother, Robert Carrico. He gave his all on September 14, 1943, in Salerno, Italy. He was a member of Battery C, 106 Coast Artillery Battalion. He was manning the guns on that day, and was killed along with two of his comrades – John E. Parrott and Henry Spence. It was a sad day in the small community of Springfield, Kentucky, when news of the two deaths reached their relatives – Spence was from Mt. Sterling. The entire community grieved along with the parents, siblings and relatives of the brave young men.
Robert was 21 – a young man in his prime – a deeply religious person whose letters reflected his attendance at church and his love of his family. Mom was 12 when he was killed; he had been in the army for three years, so her recollections are a bit sketchy. But she does remember how much he was loved – both before he left and after he was killed. He loved to play the French harp and was a kind and gentle soul – how he must have hated the killing that took place during the war.
We all have relatives that have given their lives for our rights and freedoms. Let us never take their sacrifice for granted. Let us all take one minute out of our day tomorrow – one minute of silence for all those who have laid down their lives in sacrifice for their country. It’s the least we can do.