Since joining the Army, I have had the misfortune of losing some of fellow Soldiers. On days like today it is very difficult to come to grips with the fact that my life has been spared in war, while others were not. This is not to say that they did anything wrong, or that I did anything right; rather, it is merely a fact of war. Some of us make it back home and some do not, and there is no escaping this reality.
Specialist Deangelo Snow and I first met in the Summer of 2009. He was a Soldier fresh out of mechanic school and came to my platoon with a willing heart to learn everything he could about his new job. Not long after he showed up, I moved jobs and became the Executive Officer for our Squadron's Headquarters Troop. Oddly enough, only a few months later, Deangelo was reassigned to my Troop as a member of the Command Group's Personal Security Detail (PSD). He exchanged his mechanic tools for a 240B machine gun and became a gunner. On September 17th of last year, his vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade and he died of shrapnel wounds.
Roughly around the same time that SPC Snow came to my platoon, another young Soldier named Specialist David Hess showed up with an eagerness to serve his country. And just like Deangelo, David was reassigned to the PSD platoon as a driver. On October 10th, he and Staff Sergeant David Weigle, the PSD platoon sergeant, were driving in the lead vehicle of a convoy that hit a pressure plate IED in the road. Both SSG Weigle and SPC Hess died instantly.
Each year on this day, many of us serving in uniform are inundated by civilians we come into contact with, honoring us for our service to this great country. However, I cannot shake the fact that we should not be thanked today. Those of us who were fortunate enough to make it back from war are honored on Veteran's Day. Today is reserved for the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service to our country. Memorial Day must remain their day, not ours.