Monday, May 31, 2010

On this Memorial Day

Posted yesterday in the comment section of this post:

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.

Most Americans will grill out, and countless cattle and hogs will have given their lives to make most of us happy in our backyards, not to mention tomatoes, sugar, mustard seed, vinegar ...

Erin talks about 10 things we can do to ameliorate the leak in the Gulf. For the most part, she's on target.

But today, I'm not thinking about that terrible tragedy, and it is a tragedy for our nation.

I'm thinking about Arden Bradley Cooper and Ronald Milton Randazzo.

I watched them die 100 yards away from me well over 18 years ago. I can still see it in my head.

I remember Cooper's mother coming to Fort Hood, six months after that day, and accepting the Silver Star on his behalf, knowing that nothing any of us could do would make up for her loss.

And I'm thinking, why am I here, and why isn't he here?

Tomorrow, I will make real BBQ ribs for my wife, along with some local grilled crookneck squash, zucchini, out of season corn (bought by her, not me!), and some local potatoes. It will be, for most folks, a three/four day weekend.

But for me, it's the day I remember my friends who died 100 yards away from me, in full sight. It's the vision that I wish would go away but won't. And I think that's how it should be, lest we forget the sacrifices of folks like Arden Bradley Cooper and Ronald Milton Randazzo.

--Al the Retired Army Guy

Thank you Al, in every sense of the word.

* * *


Bill said...

Thanks for posting Al's comments Erin.

Chrissy said...

I agree w/you.. On another site someone was wishing his contacts a "HAPPY Memorial Day"... I guess happy meaning that we have peace and freedom? I am not happy because lives were taken and its a shame that it had to come to that... What happened to throwing the leaders in a ring and having them duke it out???
Ok, am I being childish or logical?

Bill said...

I guess you can be somber about one thing and happy about another at the same time. Like, my family would be sad if I died but happy that I had life insurance.

Anonymous said...

I honor the war dead and wounded. Sorry for your pain and losses Al.


Also..James Max Johnson. 10th Army. Army Air Corps. China-India-Burma theatre. WW II. Made it back. Made me. R.I.P. Dad

Al the Retired Army Guy said...




P.S. Here's to my Dad, Richard C. Dover, the contributor of the mess hall pan I use at demos. Aviation Machinist's Mate, 3rd Class, U.S. Navy, 1942-46. Service on the USS Missouri and Nevada, amongst other ships. RIP Dad this Memorial Day.

Erin O'Brien said...

And thanks to you Al for these poignant comments that delivered as appropriate a Memorial Day message as anyone could ask for.

I'm thinking of you, of Arden Bradley Cooper and Ronald Milton Randazzo, and of your dad.


Anonymous said...

Al, I was friends with Brad in Seattle and he was the first friend of mine who died. I remember the last time I saw him and the day I buried him. I named my son Cooper after him last year. Thank God for Google and thank you for this post. My hope was obviously he died without feeling pain or fear.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Anon: Cooper died shielding another soldier from incoming fire with his body from what I know/saw. It was because of this that he suffered his mortal wounds - he died so that another could live. Our medics got to him pretty quickly and stabilized him, got him back to the forward aid station, and from there to the nearest combat support hospital. I was told that there were six surgeons that worked on him, but his wounds were too extensive and he ultimately succumbed to them. His Silver Star was richly deserved and he remains an American hero.