America has no shortage of heroes to honor. We remember those who were killed on battlefields, but we should also reflect on those who lost their lives and are remembered as “others.” Even during peace time, helicopters crash, training exercises at times go awry and auto accidents occur. And, what about the family members, comrades and friends who remain?

In the war against coronavirus, health care workers and first responders are the infantry. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, police officers and firefighters risk their lives by simply showing up for work. A significant number of military veterans enter second careers as first responders. Many heroes have been killed in battle, while others died in civilian life because they tried to help others.

Henry Black is a retired Marine Corps major who lost a loved one in war. His son, Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, was one of the four fallen U.S. soldiers killed during an Oct. 4, 2017, firefight in Niger by militants aligned with the Islamic State. Black lives in Washington state with his wife, a surviving son, daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. He recently penned an op-ed commentary for the Military Times and gave Up and Coming Weekly permission to reprint his remarks:

“I admonish those that now lead our military, who are responsible for the well-being of our sons and daughters to honor the memory of those we have lost by supporting and protecting those who remain with every resource available,” he wrote, adding “never place primary blame for negative events on your subordinates, but realize that if a subordinate unit fails, it is your failure, also. Do not exonerate yourself for missions that go awry. Don’t look for fault only in your subordinates, look for faults in yourselves, also.”

Black continued “I also remember the teammates of those lost, who were with the lost as they gave their last full measure of devotion, and who now may carry scars from what and who they lost. I am grateful for them, and ask them not to carry grief or guilt, but to live lives that honor the memories of lost friends and teammates. Black added, “… do not look simply to assign blame, for mistakes will inevitably be made, but to learn what can be improved. Do this, and everything else in your power, so that your, and our, soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen can be part of the living ... and not join those whom we remember and honor for their last full measure of devotion.”

The month of May is Military Appreciation Month as designated by Congress in 1999. Although the entire month is designated to honoring past and present military members and their families, there are several military holidays sprinkled throughout the month, in addition to Memorial Day. They include Loyalty Day, VE Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Mother’s Day and Armed Forces Day.

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