Memorial Day flag grave remember
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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For some, Memorial Day is the kickoff of summer. Vacations are planned, backyard grilling and warm days with friends and family are in the works. It’s also a day of honoring those who gave their lives in service to our nation so we can enjoy our freedoms.

We, the firearm industry, pause to honor these men and women. We also rededicate ourselves to living lives worthy of their sacrifice. We mourn the loss but we celebrate that we had men and women such as these among us, even if it was for a short time. For those of us in the firearm industry that served in uniform, we’re especially touched that we had the opportunity to serve alongside them.

The firearm industry has a unique connection to our military and the veterans who swore oaths to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. These are men and women who carried the firearms our industry produces that aid in the defense of the United States and our way of life. The rifles, handguns and ammunition produced by manufacturers across this nation were carried into war by these Americans. Our industry is the “great arsenal for democracy.”

Celebrate Freedom

Their loss on the battlefields in far-flung places around the globe steels our resolve that we should be worthy beneficiaries of their sacrifice. These patriots didn’t seek martyrdom but stood in the gap knowing the cost that may be called. They answered that call willingly. They are the best of us. Their absence reminds us of the charge to honor their memory and preserve the freedoms for which they gave their lives.

This Memorial Day is, indeed, a celebration. There should be beach volleyball games and barbecues. Friends and family should celebrate their freedom to gather in safety. That could even include a day at a gun range, swinging a shotgun at a sporting clays range or honing marksmanship skills at long-range targets. Those are our freedoms too.

Memorial Day is a reminder to pause. Some will head to local national cemeteries to place flags and flowers at the headstones of those we honor. These were sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. For those us who served in uniform, some of them were closer than brothers and sisters. These are people connected to our souls.

Remember the Cost

It’s why we remember. It’s why we ask our nation to remember. Reflect on them and the lives they lived and the freedoms they loved. They are men and women like Master Sgt. Aaron Torian, from Paducah, Ky. I served alongside him in Iraq. Maj. Megan McClung was a vibrant woman, a long-distance runner who organized a satellite Marine Corps Marathon in Iraq. We also served together in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province. Maj. Doug Zembiec was called the “Lion of Fallujah” who extolled the virtues of his Marines. He was legendary and now is among Marine legends.

Those we owe a debt to aren’t just of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re also of the jungles of Vietnam, where Navy Lt. Vincent Capodanno, a Roman Catholic priest, who served as a chaplain for Marines. He dragged Marines to safety in the din of battle, administered last rites to mortally wounded Marines, ignoring wounds to his own body. Marines in the battle attested that Father Capodanno placed himself between enemy fire to protect wounded Marines when lost his own life. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard DeWert was a hospital corpsman serving with Marines in Korea just north of the 38th Parallel when his unit found itself in a pitched battle against Chinese Communists. Four Marines from a lead element were wounded and Petty Officer DeWert rushed to their aid, sustaining gunshot wounds as he dragged Marines to safety. He was gunned down by enemy fire attempting to rescue the last wounded Marine. Petty Officer DeWert was the second Navy sailor to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Korean War.

In WWII, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone was already awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Guadalcanal. He was featured in “Life” magazine but ultimately returned to combat with his Marines, leading them ashore in the Iwo Jima invasion when he fell to Japanese artillery.

These men and women are the reasons we celebrate – and should celebrate. They seem larger than life but the reality is they make our lives larger. They are also the reasons we pause. NSSF is awed and humbled that Americans like these walked among us. The firearm industry honors their sacrifice and is inspired to protect the freedoms for which they gave their lives.


Mark Oliva is the Managing Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 

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  1. I think it would be most honoring to end all burials at Arlington for those who did not give the last full measure. Retirees, non-combat deceased, swells and the well connected have no place there (unless they were KIA).

      • Hey, fascist wolfie –

        Did you hear the big news?

        Guess who, all of a sudden, ever since she got out of a Russian prison cell, now stands for the national anthem?

        “What I went through and everything, it just means a little bit more to me now, so I want to be able to stand. I was literally in a cage and could not stand the way I wanted to, and a lot of other different situations. Just being able to hear my national anthem, see my flag, I definitely I want to stand.”

        Sure looks like she got an attitude adjustment, doesn’t it?


        I hope someone does the same to you, scumbag…

        • That means a dog with a temper in spanish lingo doesn’t it.
          Semper =temper Fidelis =Fido
          Mean dog,
          English is easy if you know ebonics.

      • Commie Coyote,

        Must be an interesting life to be so devoid of gratitude and love. How empty your soul must be. Eat a dick, you worthless, ungrateful turd.

  2. Well said Mark Oliva.

    On the other hand we watch the PBS White House Memorial Day Remberence every year and this year there was too much talk of the living. I want to hear stories about those who did not make it back, etc. I want to hear stories about those in the graves of Normandy, etc. Usually get that but this year the Remberence appeared to have been directed by the biden administration.

  3. As we remember the Fallen also remember those that bear the scars both visible and invisible of their service on our behalf.

    • Truth^^^ All Gave Some…Some Gave All. Honor and remember their sacrifice and don’t forget the families. Their sacrifices deserve our Honor as well.

  4. On our Group Chat channel this morning we were discussing Memorial Day and the troops whom we are honoring when the oldest member of our group of retirees (USAF, Vietnam 66 – 67, F4 Avionics Tech) mentioned that he is looking forward to thanking them personally one day.

    G_d bless our Troops – Past. Present and Future

  5. I had to quit reading at the part about the vietnam chaplain because i was starting to cry. Bout to pick the wife up at the airport on dont want to be a mess. God bless all of you.

  6. To those sailors and aircrew I’ve known who went to Davey Jone’s Locker. The memories don’t abate.

  7. A corner of my mind is always amused, when we start eulogizing those still on patrol. Anyone who ever wore a uniform, knows that there are some real arseholes and dicks wearing the same uniform.

    It’s not like they went out and decided to make the supreme sacrifice. Most of them were trying very hard to NOT MAKE that sacrifice. The fact that someone managed to kill them doesn’t stop them being arseholes and dicks.

    Still on patrol – and still arseholes!!

    OK, I’ll let that perverse corner of my mind rest now .

    • People change over time. I have known many of those A-holes in my time, I was a bit of one as well in my youth. With age comes wisdom and temperament. Those no longer with us were denied the opportunity to become better people.

      I share your sentiment Paul. I just keep that other thought in mind and try to think kindly of those brothers that were lost too soon.

      • “People change over time. I have known many of those A-holes in my time, I was a bit of one as well in my youth. With age comes wisdom and temperament.”

        And sometimes it takes reality slapping you in the face, like that woman WMBA player who thought it was a good idea to take illegal drugs into a literal DICTATORSHIP.

        Her attitude just got adjusted…

        • @Geoff

          Do you mean that stupid b***h Buydum traded an international arms dealer for…the same woman who has been doubling down on dissing the USA since her return?

          If you meant her then I don’t see much of a positive attitude adjustment on her part.


  9. To all those who served. Thank You for your service. For all who didn’t come home. We will never forget. And, as a veteran. Thank you for being worthy of our service.

  10. An I said ” c’mon man, what’s with the half mast flag stuff Pelosi isnt dead yet. ,,,,,,,,, No.,,, Memorial Day . Well hmmm ??? Memorial Day.

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