Skip to comments.Heroism on the battlefield is part of the brotherhood.
Posted on 05/28/2014 1:32:31 PM PDT by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA At what Army Chaplain (Col.) Samuel Godfrey calls The Bivouac of the Dead, a few people sat among their deceased loved ones.
A small girl held the hand of a man, as she carried flowers to a grave, but too soon she was out of sight, disappearing among the tombstones as the annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Fort Huachucas Old Post Cemetery began Monday morning
While Memorial Day is a time for us to salute all the brave men and women who have given what Abraham Lincoln said is the last full measure of devotion their lives they should be remembered not just one day a year but each day, for the country is forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley said.
He noted that what is now called Memorial Day had its roots planted during the Civil War, and was called Decoration Day.
As part of the annual event, members of VFW Post 9972 held a ceremony centered around the Grand Army of the Republics General Order 11, read by Francis H.J. MacDonnell of the post, which established a day of remembrance to decorate the graves of the fallen who defended the Union during the Civil War.
The general, who commands the Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, noted this year is unique as it marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
In a little less than two weeks, that anniversary will be celebrated, but Ashley shared a story about Pfc. Charles Deglopper, whose actions earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor when he provided his platoon covering fire when they came under a concentrated attack by German forces.
Dropped into France as part of a Charlie Company of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, the platoon found themselves vastly outnumbered and began a withdrawal, the general said.
Deglopper broke cover, stood up and walked in full view of the enemy while providing devastating and accurate covering fire to protect his platoon, Ashley said.
The Grand Island, N.Y., native graduated from high school in 1941, entered the Army in 1942, was deployed overseas in 1943, where he fought in North Africa, Sicily and Italy before going to France. He was 22-years-old when he died on the Normandy battlefield, Ashley said, adding he was the only soldier of the 325th ever and the only one from the 82nd to be awarded the MOH for bravery during the Normandy invasion.
When his body was found his comrades found the ground strewn with enemy dead and many machine guns and automatic weapons Pfc. Deglopper knocked out of action, the general said.
But the question of why he stood up and did what he did remains unanswered, as we will never be able to talk to him and ask why he chose to make such a heroic stand, Ashley said.
Today, the number of living MOH recipients is just 78, with 55 of them receiving the nations highest military decoration in Vietnam and seven who are living are recipients from Operation Enduring Freedom.
On May 13, Sgt. Kyle White became the most recent MOH recipient for his actions in Afghanistan in 2007, and when his actions happened, he had less than two years of service and was only 20 years old, Ashley said.
His reasons for his actions was, because I knew my battle buddies would have done the same for me, Ashley reported Whites response to the question.
Another MOH recipient from Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, said he earned his medal with 17 other guys, and its no more mine than it is theirs. I carry this medal for all those who serve and who have served, Ashley said were Giuntas comments.
What those who have served, have supported their compatriots in battle; all who have worn the uniform know, ours is a brotherhood and sisterhood of arms it is centuries old and there are countless stories of such bravery and yet we still ask ourselves where do such brave men and women come from? the general said.
And Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have fallen, as well as to understand there are still brave men and women in harms way, Ashley said.
The traditional 21-rifle salute was fired, the playing of Taps by a single bugler from the 62nd U.S. Army Band, was sounded, its mournful 24 notes filling the area where nearly 600 people attended the ceremony.
Then the sounds of 21 cannon shots, fired from the forts Reservoir Hill, echoed over the cemetery, sounding like whooshes slowly fading away.
Sacrifices of those who serve will always be needed so long as there remains evil in the world, the fight is never over and we will again call on our most precious assets, our sons and daughters, to defend this great republic, Ashley said.
For The Fallen
During Maj. Gen. Robert Ashleys Memorial Day speech Monday on Fort Huachuca he recited a poem titled: For the Fallen.
The words follow:
For each soldier that has fallen so that many may stand
We honor their spirit as they pass to Gods hand
For without their sacrifice we would live forever in fear
We pray for their loved one and provide a salute and a tear
God help us heal the wounds of hate and the misery of war
That is our gift to our fallen heroes that are amongst us no more.
America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!