On behalf of all our Local 1036 members and their families who have served or are serving in the military, and for all those who have served to enable us to enjoy our freedom and way of life, we honor all our veterans this Memorial Day.
Nothing can capture our sentiments better than a message written by Jimmy Gilbert, Local 1036 Staff Rep and Veteran. We are deeply grateful to Jimmy and all our 1036 veterans for their service.
Memorial Day is a holiday as a country we take time to pause to honor those military service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. These fallen brothers and sisters, generations of men and women from the very founding of this country, are the very embodiment of honor, valor and loyalty. For me and many veterans, this holiday holds a special place in our hearts.
My family is not unlike many of yours—military service is a family tradition. My grandfather fought in the Pacific in World War II, my father in Vietnam and I proudly followed in their footsteps and served in the U.S. Navy during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and later in the Army National Guard. The three of us came home from overseas military service to start careers, families and our own pursuit of the American Dream. That is not the case for all who have served.
In 2012, a member of our family was killed in action in Afghanistan. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Brazas, of Greensboro, N.C., died May 30 while conducting combat operations in Panjwa’l, Afghanistan. Sean, who was a K9 handler, was killed by a sniper while helping a fellow servicemember into a helicopter. Sean was 26 years old, had a wife and young daughter. I began to ask some really hard questions. What if it was my mother grieving graveside that sunny day at Arlington National Cemetery? What if it was my father accepting that neatly folded flag from the funeral detail? What must that little 13-month-old girl think as they play Taps and she sees her mother cry for a husband and a father who is not coming home? Many veterans will ask themselves questions like this and many families have felt the twisting emotions of pride and sorrow.
On this Memorial Day, like millions of Americans, I will eat a hot dog, drink a cold beer and spend time with my family and friends. But we urge you to take time to remember those brave men and women and the equally brave families they have left behind. This is their day. On behalf of CWA Local 1036 and the newly formed Veterans Committee, I wish you and your family the best this Memorial Day as we honor the service and sacrifice of America’s heroes.
Local 1036 Staff Representative