On the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, known to most of us as "The Wall", his name appears on Panel 45E, Line 47. He was a native of Marks, Mississippi and was a married man. Born in August of 1946, he grew up in the Baptist church and was drafted into service in 1966.
He started his tour of duty in Vietnam on Valentine's Day in 1968 and he was a Sergeant, E-5, in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army. One month and one day after he started his tour of duty in Vietnam, he was gunned down in a firefight, a week after the My Lai massacre.
His name was Charles Edward Mc Gee. He was my great uncle.
Charles Edward Mc Gee was one of the 38,505 casualties that was killed by hostile fire in the Vietnam War. He is part of an elite group of individuals who date back from the Revolutionary War who have fought for the freedom of this nation and have paid the ultimate price in doing so.
Today is the day we thank Charles Edward Mc Gee and the others who made that sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedom we too often take for granted. If you have not done so already, take time from friends, family and barbecue to give the proper thanks. It can be a small prayer or a collective moment of silence, but please take the time to do so.
Thank you, Uncle Charles.
There are young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan right now who we may end up honoring a year from now in the very same way. My prayer is that will not be the case, but it is an unrealistic expectation when we are at war. All we can do is respect their commitment and honor them for their service, as well as pray for their safe return.
Meanwhile, enjoy your Memorial Day and remember those who made it possible for us to enjoy it.