Service praises heroes? sacrifice

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


While the people she spoke of have been dead for a long time, their legacy lived on Monday as people gathered in the Washington High School varsity gym to show respect for the sacrifices U.S. servicement have made as part of Memorial Day.

During Chaplain Antonette Toms, U.S. Army (RET.), speech at the Memorial Day observance at Washington High School, she spoke of several people who had made the ultimate sacrifice to their nation. She discussed the histories of several people who lost their lives during conflict.

?As we remember Memorial Day, we can take the time to reflect on the men and women who have died for our beloved country,? she said. ?A warrior is someone who defends the people against harm and danger. That?s us and the ones who have come before us.?

She said her grandfather had served in World War II and her father was in the Air Force and she had served in the Army for 30 years. She explained Memorial Day has its roots in many cultures.

Tom spoke of Lt. Jimmy Monteith of the 16th Infantry Regiment who led his troops into battle during D-Day and was killed in action. During World War II, 408,306 soldiers were killed. In the Korean War, 54,246 soldiers were killed. During the Vietnam War, 58,219 people lost their lives. During the Persian Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm, 363 soldiers were killed. In Operation Enduring Freedom, 214,000 troops have been killed, she said.

?We salute you, your families, and we honor you today,? she said. ?We want you to know you are not forgotten ? many of you in the many different conflicts.?

She said that many people had died in the conflicts and they had only been remembered by their loved ones.

Tom spoke of several people who had died after putting on the uniform to defend the United States.

?We all know freedom is not free,? she said. ?It costs so much to people wearing that uniform and all our veterans can attest to that.?