David M. Reisner
360 Digital Producer
Happy Memorial Day.
More than 500,000 U.S. troops are currently assigned and deployed overseas this Memorial Day…
Over the weekend I reached out to a few soldiers stationed around the world asking them what it's like for troops spending Memorial Day away from home and what this national Holiday now means to them. Here is one such response:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/24/art.cpt.paul.a..brown.jpg caption="CPT Paul A Brown HHC: This is when I flew to Camp Taji for a conference on supporting Multi-National Division-Baghdad and how the focus might change if/when the Surge Brigades begin to leave"]
CPT Paul A. Brown HHC
168th Brigade Support Battalion
(Camp Liberty, Iraq)
I am the Adjutant (Personnel Officer) for the 168th Brigade Support Battalion which has three primary missions in support of Multi-National Division-Baghdad and Multi-National Division-Central. The "Make It Happen" (our motto) battalion provides supply, maintenance and distribution support to more than 80,000 Soldiers.
I manage all personnel, financial, discipline, awards, and public affairs for over 1,000 Soldiers in the battalion..
I miss everyone immensely and I cannot wait to be home. Erin, I love you and miss you the most. Not a second goes by that I stop missing you. I love you Sweetie and will be home soon.
Q. What is lit ike for the troops spending Memorial day away from home?
A. Since being in Iraq, I don't see any difference in the days. Maybe a change in menu at the Dining Facilities, but other than that, it is just another day. Don't get me wrong, I miss my family, but you just block it out and focus on the mission. That is a way I deal with being away from my wife Erin. I look at each day as the same as the last. It is a 15 month "Groundhog Day" where the only break is 18 days of leave and an occasional change in mission, but even that becomes a routine after a while.
Q. What events/services do the military provide on Memorial Day?
A. I will be doing a "Combat Patch Ceremony" for two units that have recently deployed. This ceremony will officially mark new Soldiers as Veterans of Combat, a visual representation of what they have done and what they are doing.
Q. What do you miss about Memorial Day back home?
A. I miss my wife Erin and family. The parties and barbeques are nice, but they are nothing without the love of the thing that makes you whole. As to the beach, we have sand everywhere, so I can do without a beach for a while.
Q. What would you do on previous Memorial Day's?...
A. I used to go to local ceremonies for Veterans in my home town, barbeques, and of course parties.
Q. Most consider Memorial Day a 'day off' – how has that changed for you?
A. I do not believe most people can be blamed for viewing it as a "day off".
I believe most people were never taught the significance of what Servicemen and women have done to ensure freedom. I believe that this view of a "day off" has changed in the last seven years and will continue to change. I am always reminded of the old quote by President Coolidge "The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten".
Remembering our troops... and how you can help...
Filed under: Memorial Day
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