The Lives of Those Who Served
–Contributed by: J. (Pittman) Younkin
Patriotism is defined as devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.1 Patriotism is fueled by selfless bravery. It requires the ability to set aside your own personal agenda for the sake of others.
Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than freedom to stagnate, to live without dreams, to have no greater aim than a second car and another television set.2
Had it not been for the patriotism of the people and the founding fathers of the United States of America, this nation may not be what it is today. The United States is strong because it’s people historically joined together in unity (“united”) for the same cause; namely, freedom. Unfortunately, that freedom comes with a high price. Many men and women have paid with their lives and health so that future generations might continue to live free.
On November 19,1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, during the Civil War (1861-1865), where over 50,000 died after three days of fighting. The following is an except from his famous speech:
…But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.3
May we never lose site of the cost of our freedom. May we never take our freedom for granted.
There are over 1900 names of veterans with connective ties to the Clear Lake area inscribed on the Memorial. As a special tribute, the family of a veteran who’s name is inscribed on the Memorial (that was honorably discharged from our nation’s military and has a connective tie to the regional Clear Lake area) may submit a story about how their loved one’s life was effected by the service they performed for their country.
Here’s a few stories of the lives of those who served:
- Sgt Melvin Bauerfield KIA: Never met his first born son.
- Adolph Brihn: Migrated from Lithuania, died for American liberty.
- PFC Robert Cahow: Battle of the Bulge. Killed stepping into a minefield.
- John Nelson Hoff: Saw and admired President Abe Lincoln.
- YNC Victor Pittman: An inspiration for veterans dealing with disabilities.