May, 2014 - I know I am a probably a week ahead with a Memorial Day message, but one of our staff went to Arlington National Cemetery to attend the funeral of a relative (a WWII veteran and a D-Day survivor), and it has me thinking about this year’s upcoming Memorial Day.
In the United States Navy, the Casualty Assistance Calls Officer is the local representative who provides assistance to families in the event of the death of their service member. The other branches of service have a similar position, I am sure. Right now, around the country, Casualty Assistance Calls Officers are standing by, ready to fill this important duty for Navy families. One of the very difficult tasks associated with this role is accompanying a military chaplain to the home of the next of kin to inform the family of the loss of their loved one.
Early in my career in the Navy while in a helicopter training squadron, I happened to meet another pilot in training that grew up in Northern Idaho, very near to my hometown. It turns out we had attended rival high schools and had probably competed in sports. There aren’t too many of us Idahoans around, so that hometown connection proved to be a touchstone for the start of a friendship. After about three months, he transferred to his fleet squadron on the east coast and I stayed out west. On June 22, 1990, the news spread at my squadron that a helicopter had crashed off of Norfolk, Virginia, and the crew members had all been lost. My friend was the copilot on that flight.
As I reflected on this shocking news, my thoughts and prayers focused on Sand Point, Idaho. I knew that a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer and a chaplain were on their way to knock on the door of the home of the parents of Lieutenant Junior Grade Jason Skubi.
Jason is buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery. This post was left for Jason on a website honoring the fallen: Thank you for your service in preserving our country's freedoms. I will honor you in the only way that I can… by remembering you always. May you rest in peace knowing that you truly embodied the ideals of "Duty, Honor, Country."
Memorial Day is fast approaching. I thought I might share a way we can all honor those service members who gave their lives for this nation. In 2000, President Clinton signed into law The National Moment of Remembrance Act to ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten. This Act encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. This video sums it up pretty well. https://www.usba.com/RememberMemorialDay