On Monday, May 29, 2023, Americans across the country will celebrate the brave servicemen and servicewomen who died defending our country. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance to honor the sacrifice made by the men and women who have died during their service in the United States military. It is about taking the time to honor America's fallen heroes. Unlike Veterans Day, which is a time to honor all those who have served in the military, in a time of war or peace, Memorial Day is strictly for acknowledging the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice while defending their country.
In April, KCI’s CEO and I visited Hawai’i on business. While there I was able to visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Shortly before 800 AM on 7 December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the main US Naval Base in the Pacific on O’ahu, Hawai’i. Less than two hours later, the surprise attack was over, and every battleship in Pearl Harbor—USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS California, USS West Virginia, USS Utah, USS
Maryland, USS Pennsylvania, USS Tennessee, and USS Nevada—had sustained significant damage. (All but USS Arizona and USS Utah were eventually salvaged and repaired.) The attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including sailors, soldiers and civilians. Additionally, 1,178 people were wounded. 129 Japanese soldiers were killed. Half of the dead at Pearl Harbor were on the USS Arizona. Today the sunken battleship serves as a memorial to all Americans who died in the attack. It is joined by the Battleship USS Missouri, with the Arizona signifying the beginning of America’s entrance to WWII and the Missouri, on whose deck in Tokyo harbor the instrument of Japan’s surrender was signed, signifying the end of WWII. The ships are moored with their bows facing each other.
Every one of service men and women who has given their life in the service of our country is a hero. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps. There are approximately 332 million citizens in the US today. All of us owe our freedoms to these individuals who have given their lives for us. Winston Churchill said it of his RAF in WWII “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Today, we in the US can say the same – never have so many owed their freedom to so few.
Duane Nathaniel, KCI President