Memorial Day Weekend

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
George S. Patton

Hope everyone takes just a moment during the grilling and parties this weekend to remember all the soldiers and their families that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our great country. It's pretty easy to forget as most of us (myself included) have never really made any sacrifices because our nation is at war. It's just a blurb on the TV and a talking point for
politicians hoping to say what voters want to hear.

Below is an email I received last year. Typical email that had been forwarded ten times over and I usually delete, but the some sender had typed "important" in the subject line so I opened it. I love photo journalism and can honestly say it was one of the most moving and thought provoking images I have ever seen no matter how you feel about the Iraq War, our current administration, etc. Sadness, pride, patriotism and lots of other feelings go t
hrough me every time I've looked at it. Below the picture is a letter from the Nashville paper several days later.

Dear Tennessean:
The Tennessean's April 5 photograph of young Christian Golczynski accepting the American flag from Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson is one of the most moving and emotion provoking images I have ever seen.

I attended funeral services for Christian's father, Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, on April 4, along with my six year-old son, dozens of Marines, and several hundred others who came to pay tribute to this fallen hero.

As one would expect, many of your readers were touched by this incredible picture. On April 9 you published two letters from those who have used this image as a basis to criticize President Bush and the war in Iraq. These writers should know that Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq. He wrote to his family, shortly before his death on March 27, that he had "volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. We fight and sometimes die so our families don't have to." Tragically, Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour.

I look at the photograph of Christian every day. It is displayed prominently in our home. Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict.

Our nation is at a historical crossroads. Do we call an end to the struggle in Iraq or press on? Staff Sergeant Golczynski eloquently told his son how he felt about giving up. Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this man's life and the choices he made. He was undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction. America must now choose whether to complete the job. When I look at the face of Christian Golczynski, I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right. Christian's dad knew that too

James Drescher Franklin, TN