Today is Memorial Day.
Memorial Day started as Decoration Day as far back as 1868, to remember those soldiers who had given their lives in service to the Union.
The US Federal Government made Memorial Day an official Federal Holliday, to be celebrated on the last Monday in May, in 1971.
It serves to remind us that our rights and freedoms have been paid for with the lives of American men and women on the battlefield.
I think one of the most poignant examples of that sacrifice, one that stands out in my mind is that of Loyce Edward Deen.
Machinist Mate 2nd Class Loyce Deen is one of the only aviators ever given the honor of being buried in his aircraft.
On November 5, 1944, Deen was the tail gunner of a TBM Avenger in a raid on Manila. His plane was hit by anti-aircraft guns and Deen was killed instantly. The pilot, Lt. Robert Cosgrove, flew the plane back to the carrier USS Essex. His body and the plane were so badly damaged that the decision was made to bury him at sea in the aircraft.
The US Navy recorded this for posterity, that we may never forget the sacrifice of Deen and men like him and the horrors they faced.
Good rest Loyce Deen and the men like him who gave their lives for this country.