The guest speaker at Elizabethtown’s Memorial Day service singled out one of the most recent military deaths as he urged Americans to remember all those who have died in military service.
Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, 34, of Fort Lee, N.J., was a Special Forces weapons sergeant. He died Jan. 1, 2018, in a firefight in eastern Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Arthur C. Roscoe of the Army War College in Carlisle urged those attending Elizabethtown’s Memorial Day service to recognize Golin’s sacrifice. Roscoe said Golin was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1983 and moved to the United States in 2004, enlisting in the Army within months. He was deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan before the final deployment in which he lost his life.
“As we think about him and all those families, we are reminded that the world remains a very dangerous place, and that our soldiers are in harm’s way all across the globe,” Roscoe said.
Roscoe also urged those in attendance not to be distracted by the less solemn occasions that take place on Memorial Day.
“Many of you may know the history of this holiday,” Roscoe said. “If so, you know, too, that it is not just about backyard barbecues, going to the beach, the latest holiday sale or the unofficial start of summer. It has far deeper meaning.”
He went on to brief the listeners on the history of the holiday for those who did not know. Memorial Day began in 1868 as Decoration Day, a day to put flowers on the graves of soldiers killed in the American Civil War.
Roscoe quoted Gen. John Logan, the commander of the Union veterans group the Grand Army of the Republic, who said, “We should guard their graves with a sacred vigilance. … Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have ever forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
Roscoe said one thing to do is to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance, a call to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to stop and reflect on the sacrifice of those who died in military service. He said it was established by Congress in the year 2000; reportedly, it was inspired by a group of schoolchildren touring the U.S. Capitol who were asked about the meaning of Memorial Day. The reply was, “It’s the day the pool opens.”
Roscoe said the aim is to ensure liberty and peace.
“When we have succeeded in this, when we have ensured liberty and peace, when nations and peoples join us in this great cause, then we will have no more fitting tribute to those we honor today: Those who gave their all so that we may live free,” Roscoe said.