This past weekend we honored our veterans, those who have served our country in the military. We feel particularly moved by those who paid the ultimate price, giving their lives in service to our country.
While visiting the American cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, I came across the grave of a young man named Paul K. Jacobson. He was from Utah and died April 12, 1944, while serving in the 1st Armored Division, 81st Reconnaissance Battalion. He enlisted in June of 1943 in Salt Lake City and was 23 years old. He was an unmarried high school graduate who had been working as a cook. He was in the Army less than a year when he died.
I've often wondered about this young man's family and what his parents must have experienced when they were notified of his death.
My own father turned 100 years old this weekend. He is a World War II and Korean War veteran. My brother is a Vietnam veteran. One of my daughters served in the Army, and a granddaughter is presently in the National Guard. Two of my nephews - brothers - have served in the Middle East. One of them is also married to a young woman who served in Iraq. She came home with tuberculosis. All are proud to have served.
Only 1 in 30 World War II veterans is still living, and I hope families are capturing the memories of these heroes. We must remember - and honor - those who have gone before and have preserved our ability to be an exceptional people.
~ Mary Burkett