May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

On this Memorial Day, I would like to talk about Sgt. Louis Fischer. The year was 1968, and America was at the height of a very unpopular conflict. I never met Sgt. Fischer, so I could not tell you how he felt about the Vietnamese people, the politics of the era or his personal views on what he had heard at the time about the anti-war movement back in the United States of America at the end of the 60's.

What is recorded in history though, is that Sgt. Fischer along with another 4 airmen held his post at Bunker O51 located on the west side of the Tan Son Nhut Air Base even when over 600 attackers attempted to overrun the air base. Although mortally wounded, Sgt. Fischer continued to fight after all of his team members were apparently either dead or dying. He knew the importance of giving time to the blocking force to halt the advance of the North Vietnamese forces.

After running out of ammunition, Sgt. Fischer still communicated to the end, indicating enemy positions and losses, which eventually allowed the blocking forces to push the enemy off the base.

NVA soldiers reached the walls of the bunker, sprayed the inside with AK-47 automatic fire. One by one the Security Policemen's guns fell silent... and with a final radio transmission... they were gone. The Security Policemen in O51 Bunker fought to their death --to the last man-- after taking 20 direct rocket hits from the main attack thrust.

Do you know how hard it is to be posted at an emplacement knowing that the enemy knows your position but you don't know his? To me, the only viable motivation to put aside your own instinct of preservation and not abandon your post is knowing that you and your men are the last hope that the other men and women on that air base as well as their loved ones waiting for them back home have of keeping them safe.

While standing on an Iraqi neighborhood, my son Paquito ended at the cross hairs of an opposing force gunman. His death brought horrible searing pain to myself and the rest of his loved ones back home. Yet had he not enlisted, had he refused to deploy, some other soldier would have been at those cross hairs. It would irrefutably been some other family mourning the lost of their son or daughter this Memorial Day.

I am not making a case for all able United States citizen to try out and do a 3 year contract with the armed service branch of your choice. Rather, I would like for all of us residents of this nation to take a momentary pause and remember all of the fallen that regardless of how they felt about politics, their own personal interest or their ongoing pursuit of happiness, selflessly gave their lives so that others may live and comeback home to their loved ones.

Happy birthday Maria! I love you so much and will forever thank you for all of your support.

I will be a guest of the CNN Newsroom on the afternoon show this Memorial Day. Right after my participation, the family and I will be meeting a the Dallas National Cemetery to put flowers at Paquito's grave.

Posted by martinf at 09:02 PM | Comments (8)