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Memorial Day Salute

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By Doug Powers  •  May 31, 2010 08:11 AM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

The word “sacrifice” is often used in a wildly exaggerated fashion (for some of us, it’s a “sacrifice” to lose cable for a day), but those who make very real and sometimes ultimate sacrifices are some of the reasons that the rest of us are in the enviable position of being able to consider something as trivial as losing cable to be a sacrifice.

Most of us have been touched in some way by the loss of these heroes — be they family or friends. Among them, for my family, is my cousin, Steve, who was killed in Vietnam.

There was a nice write-up in the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal yesterday about him that I wanted to share. Here’s just a snippet:

Sometimes in life, you get lucky enough to have a friend who makes all the difference. For Bob DiBlase of Haslett, that person was Steven Powers.

Growing up in Lansing, Bob admits he was heading down the wrong path. He was a kid with a chip on his shoulder who liked to brawl. Before school sometimes, he’d stop off on a well-known corner downtown and pick a fight with whoever was hanging out. That’s where Steven found him one day – all bloodied and scruffy.

They sort of knew each other already. Steven went to school with Bob’s older brother at Everett High School. “He grabbed me and said, ‘I’m taking you to a dance tonight. But you can’t go looking like that,’ ” Bob says.

So Steven took him to Holden-Reid, bought him some penny loafers and a button-down shirt and took him to the dance. The friendship took; Bob didn’t fight anymore after that.

“He was laid back and easy-going,” says Bob. “The girls drooled over him. We all turned into the ‘Beach Boys’ type. We were just having fun.”
***
Which is why it shocked the hell out of his friends when Steven enlisted in the Marines after high school. It was 1966. Everyone knew what was happening in Vietnam. But Steven was determined to go.

He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion of the 9th Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division. Public records don’t indicate when his tour started, but on May 14, 1967, he was wounded and received the Purple Heart.

He came home, healed up and was sent back to Vietnam. A few weeks later, he was killed.

The rest of the article is here. An interactive Vietnam Wall is here.

A very special thank-you as well to all those who are currently serving or have served so that we may remain free. From my family, that includes my father, an Air Force veteran; my uncle Steve, a retired Air Force Colonel, pilot and Vietnam veteran; and another cousin, Mike, who is a 1990 Air Force Academy grad who has served in the Middle East, Africa and Japan, among other places, and is still on active duty.

Freedom is a little like oxygen — it can be easy to take for granted until you start to lose it. A society that waits until it’s gasping and turning blue to realize that can’t remain free for long, so Memorial Day is an opportunity to take a deep breath and appreciate the fresh air we enjoy, thank these heroes, and to pledge to see to it that their sacrifices were not in vain. This is a valuable service that even those of us who never served can provide, and it’s the least we can do.

Today is the day we “officially” remember and thank all those who have given their lives in our country’s service, but, as Ted Nugent wrote in the Washington Times, we should strive to make every day Memorial Day.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

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