Moving memorial day message from Jonathan Paton

| May 27 2012

Message from Jonathan

 Friend

On Saturday, I will be speaking to the veterans at the VFW breakfast before Show Low’s Memorial Day parade. As it is every year, Memorial Day is an opportunity to reflect on the great sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.

When I think about Memorial Day, I think about an experience I had when I was deployed to Iraq.

I often had to fly around the entire theater of operations in Iraq, and the only way to get around was in a Chinook or Blackhawk helicopter. On one mission I had to go to Diyala Province from Baghdad in a Blackhawk. On the way to the airport, we got stuck behind a convoy. We were running behind and eventually arrived late for the flight – but it had been filled already with a National Guard unit and took off without us.

I learned later that evening that a Blackhawk helicopter with a National Guard unit was shot down over Diyala Province.

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about how things could have gone much differently if I had been on that flight. I often wonder: Why is it that I made it back, and many of those I served with never did? How can I live up to the sacrifice of those who gave it all for our country?

We have many worthwhile holidays in this country, but Memorial Day is the only one where we honor our fallen soldiers. As you celebrate this Memorial Day with your friends, families and neighbors, be sure to pay remembrance and gratitude to the men and women who served and died for you.

Your friend,
Jonathan Paton

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