The National Iwo Jima Memorial marked the end of the “going to” portion of our mini road trip. Not a bad place to stop. My mother and I have always loved things that properly honor soldiers. The military does an important job. Thanking them doesn’t mean you support war, it means you support them. They give something up for us to enjoy our (American) freedom. Whether it be their innocence, a stable mind, or their life.
All soldiers deserve respect of course, but I mostly focus on American soldiers. It’s my home country, and as far as I know I’ve only come in contact with American veterans.
My Mom and I didn’t have a lot of time, so we only drove by the memorial. It hit me, as we passed by, that I have access to so much. I need to be grateful for the men who fought, especially the ones who died at battle. Not only during World War II, which I was focused on at the time, but throughout every (American) war.
Surrounding the memorial was a shopping center that included a Stop&Shop, and a fast food place called Mooyah Burgers. Cars were parked outside, and families were enjoying lunch together. On the other side of the memorial was Central Connecticut State University. I could see from one of the entrances that construction work was underway. Work was being done, and life was going on.
As my Mom and I made a U-turn to start the “going back” portion of our mini road trip, I chose to remember. World War II was many years before my time, but in school I was taught about how the memorial is dedicated to the 6,821 US servicemen who gave their lives at Iwo Jima. The historic flag raising moment is forever captured by the monument. There is no amount of movies, documentaries, photos or other media source that could prevent me from taking their sacrifice for granted. I can try to snap myself out of it, but as a non-military person I will never understand what those servicemen went through. I couldn’t even come close.
So many opportunities are in my life because of the soldiers from that war. Because of the soldiers from every war. Whether the war be one that’s out of living memory, or going on at this moment. Hard work is definitely part of my achievements, but I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to succeed. America created opportunities for me, and the military keeps them in place.
Whatever I do, I owe the soldiers of the past and present a thank you. Regardless if they came home or not, they fought for something greater than me. I benefit greatly, and we all need to remember that. As they say “freedom isn’t free”.
Thank you military servicemen and servicewomen. I have so much because of sacrifices made by you.
– Katelyn Avery
Facts or fact checking for this blog post from:
I know World War II, and other wars America was involved in, were not always solely American wars. I just said “(American) war” to describe any war that American soldiers fought in.