Honor the fallen this Memorial Day

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Seaman Brandon Kuechenberg, of Sector Field Office Galveston, stands at the foot of the Galveston, Texas, pier. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
Seaman Brandon Kuechenberg, of Sector Field Office Galveston, stands at the foot of the Galveston, Texas, pier. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

For many across the nation, Memorial Day weekend serves as an unofficial kick off for the summer and is a time to fire up the grill and head to the beach. But, Memorial Day is also a time of solemn remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.

In a piece for The Hill, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp wrote:

“Each day, many of us who reside or work in our nation’s capital walk by the many memorials honoring our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Memorial Day is the time to stop, read their names and thank them for their service. We must never forget that freedom is not free, but is only made possible by the thousands of patriots who stood the watch and selflessly made the greatest of earthly sacrifices to protect our homeland.”

No matter what part of the country you live in, there is a memorial near you that serves as a tribute to service men and women who have died in the line of duty.

At Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, Wash., a plaque lists those who have crossed the bar while serving at the heavy weather station. Etched on the plaque is a humble statement that is at the root of why Coast Guard men and women serve: “A memorial to all those Coast Guardsmen who made the supreme sacrifice that others might live.”

A Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard member salutes at the grave of Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal. Bruckenthal became the first Coast Guardsman killed in action since the Vietnam War while serving in Iraq in 2004. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.
A Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard member salutes at the grave of Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal. Bruckenthal became the first Coast Guardsman killed in action since the Vietnam War while serving in Iraq in 2004. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Situated in section four at Arlington National Cemetery is the pyramid-shaped Coast Guard Memorial. Made of white marble, the monument serves as a tribute to Coast Guardsmen who lost their lives in World War I. Carved on the foundation of the monument are words that honor all who lost their lives at sea in service of their nation: “Thy way is in the sea.”

Coast Guardsmen who died fighting for their country are honored as far as Colleville-sur-Mer, France, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. This cemetery is the final resting place for seven Coast Guardsmen and contains the graves of 9,387 of our nation’s servicemembers, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations.

There are countless other memorials across the country and around the world that honor the fallen. This memorial day, pay your respects and honor all those who made the ultimate sacrifice by visiting one of these memorials. You can see a full list of Coast Guard monuments and memorials, here.

To read the rest of Adm. Papp’s Memorial Day piece for The Hill, click here.

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