In observance of the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, we will take a break from our 3EDGE Week in Review video. As we gather with friends and family and welcome in the first official days of summer, let us not forget those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us so that we could live here in the United States of America as free people.
Over each Memorial Day holiday, I am reminded of my grandfather, whose name I am honored to share. Before the U.S. committed to the fight in World War I, my grandfather took it upon himself to leave college to volunteer to serve in the ambulance corps on the Western Front alongside the French Army. As we know from history, the Western Front was characterized by brutal trench warfare, where many famous battles took place, including the Battle of the Somme. During his time as an ambulance driver on the front lines, he was wounded and had a piece of shrapnel lodged in his leg for the rest of his days.
Foreigners serving with the French before the U.S. entered the war were only allowed to rise to the rank of Private First Class. Knowing my grandfather, I am confident he would have had no problem with this rule. He was just there to do whatever he could. For his service, the French government awarded him the Croix de Guerre, which is awarded to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy. After his service and without fanfare, he returned to Syracuse University to finish his studies. Although he didn’t speak about this experience much, I can only imagine what horrors of war he must have experienced as an ambulance driver on the Western Front during World War I while not even 20 years old.
My grandfather's story is but one example of the willingness of so many fellow Americans who, throughout history, were willing to put themselves in harm's way and even pay the ultimate price of giving their life for their country.
So, as we all enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend among friends and family (and hopefully with some lovely sunny weather), please take a moment to remember those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.