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We Served Too: Remembering Civilian Sacrifices Made on Behalf of Country and Honoring Those Who Serve Alongside the Military in Conflict Zones
Anne Speckhard – (Huffington Post) – May 28, 2013 – This Memorial Day all Americans send a heartfelt salute to all those warriors who fought and died so gallantly in recent and far off wars in behalf of our freedoms and safety. On behalf of those who died, we can never thank them or their families enough for the ultimate sacrifice they made for our country. Alongside that salute we now also need to begin to honor the oft forgotten civilians who also serve in war and high threat security environments alongside the military, supporting their efforts and working in concert with them — especially all those civilians who served in the two recent U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — as many civilian workers have also lost their lives while serving our country.
While we don’t often remember the sacrifices of civilian workers in conflict zones, or have a holiday to commemorate their service, we do need to honor that they too serve their country.
A little known fact is that in September 2007 there were more contractors in Iraq than combat troops. According to a 2013 report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reports that, “In September 2007, the United States had more than 170,000 combat personnel in Iraq as part of the counterinsurgency operation, with more than 171,000 contractors supporting the mission.” These contractors are credited in the report for supporting “the counterinsurgency mission in unstable, yet strategically significant, areas such as Baghdad, Anbar, and Babylon provinces.”
On Memorial Day we need to stop and pay with sincere conviction our respects for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay. ~US Memorial Day Org
Memorial Day History
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
Honor those who have given their lives to protect ours by flying your US Flag properly.
Memorial Day, formally known as Decoration Day because the graves of Union Soldiers who died in the Civil War were decorated with flowers, was first observed in 1865. In 1866 it was declared that Decoration Day would be observed nationwide on May 30th. Memorial Day was first used in 1882 but did not become official until 1967. In 1971, Memorial Day was changed from May 30th to the last Monday in May in order to give Americans another three day weekend.
Memorial Day is now a day to honor all the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for your freedoms. Your freedom of speech, your freedom of religion, your right to keep and bear arms, your right to travel freely, your right to choose your own leaders. So many countries STILL do not have these most basic freedoms.
Join us by honoring those who have given their life, so we could live ours as we choose, by flying your US flag. Please display your flag correctly! Did you know the US Flag is to be displayed at half staff until noon on Memorial Day? Click HERE for information on how to correctly display the US flag.
Below are links to US war memorials honoring our heroes.
To all the US Service members who died in other conflicts or terrorist attacks, you are not forgotten.
Ms Sparky & Forseti
For those who died supporting our troops, there is no ceremonial return. There is only heartache for the families left behind locked in combat with employers and insurance companies like AIG.
Thousands of Americans and Foreign Nationals have died in support of our soldiers. Let’s take a moment to show them the respect they have earned.
The folks over at American Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan and Overseas Civilian Contractors have done a fantastic job of tracking contractor issues, deaths, and injuries. They have done and amazing job of putting together a memorial page for contractor employees killed in support of Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I really don’t think anyone else has done that.
For all my contract employee friends and readers working for KBR, Fluor, Dyncorp, SBH, Teng and the list goes on…I am so glad your name is not on that list. For my friends who are on the list, may you rest in peace.