I would like to serve my country and be a part of something bigger than what I know today. Every veteran has made personal sacrifices and on Memorial Day we recognize those who have given so much to ensure our freedom. These men and women are courageous, dedicated heroes.
Courage. My great, great uncle, Fred Matson, went to Canada to join the Royal Air Force. He had family still living in Europe during the war and felt obligated to support the war effort. He became a Captain and a pilot. On a mission to drop a bomb on Germany, he lost his life when he crashed into a mountain. He courageously left the safety of his home, fought for freedom and paid the ultimate price.
Dedication. Patti O’kane, a friend and role model, was a Data Systems Technician in the Navy. Her job was to manage the Auto Carrier Landing System (ACLS) which enabled planes to land on ships without the assistance of the pilot. While stationed in Virginia Beach, a pilot got caught in a blizzard. Patti came in during the storm, powered up the ACLS and landed the plane safely. She received a letter of commendation for going above and beyond. She demonstrated dedication to her job, the Navy, and her fellow soldier.
Heroism. Captain Dieter Presser is a friend and a United States Air Force pilot. He routinely flew supplies to troops stationed in Baghdad during the war with Iraq. All missions were classified, so he never knew what to expect. On one flight, Captain Presser flew 59 fallen soldiers in a C130 plane back to the United States. No one expected to bring a plane of caskets home. Out of respect for the dead, it was quiet the entire flight. Captain Presser said, “You could have heard a pin drop in that plane.” Captain Presser is one of my heroes.
Presser, O’kane, and Matson’s experiences are a few examples of the selfless sacrifices given. Let us rejoice in the ones who still live and let none of us forget what Memorial Day really is.