Archived Story

Memorial Day through a mom’s eyes

Published 9:48pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Even though both of my sons are adults now, like any other mother I still look forward to grabbing lunch with them, hearing updates about their lives or just simply getting a quick phone call from them. But all that changed the other day when I received a call with an unsettling update about my youngest son, Cody.

Cody is currently serving the United States as a reserve Naval Corpsman assigned to a Marine infantry unit, a role that occasionally sends him around the country and around the world for training exercises. As a member of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Cody was in southern Morocco last month, taking part in a joint exercise called African Lion 12, when an MV-22 Osprey crashed nearby, killing two of the aircraft’s crew chiefs and injuring two pilots.

While Cody and the rest of his unit were fine, details about this crash were not immediately available to the public. The Marines did contact me, and while I eventually received confirmation that Cody was fine, the time between those calls was one of the most difficult times of my life. My heart goes out to the four mothers who received phone calls with news that wasn’t as positive.

The crash was very emotional for me, but it did not alter my commitment to, or my gratitude for, the men and women who are serving our country both here and overseas. Those brave soldiers who are fighting the War on Terror today, and who have fought in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Gulf War before that, do so to give us the freedoms of religion, of speech, to assemble, to vote and to pursue our dreams. They choose to serve the United States because they recognize that these are the freedoms our nation was founded on and the ideals that we must continue to protect.

To date, 214 Michigan service members have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but many more have come home safely. As a legislator and a mother, I have done my best to show my deepest appreciation to all of them. As a legislator who serves on the House Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, I am proud to support legislation that can make a difference to veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much. I commend the other sons and daughters, mothers and fathers who sacrifice for our freedoms and for our safety.

Memorial Day is certainly about remembering those both fallen and still serving in the United States Armed Forces, but it is also about honoring the memory of all those we have lost. In the words of Daniel Webster, “Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.”

I look forward to hearing your comments on these important issues. Please feel free to contact me by calling (888) 373-0078 or emailing sharontyler@house.mi.gov.

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