Selfridge Honors America's Heroes

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
As A-10 attack aircraft fly overhead and National Guard color guards appear in Michigan parades and other events Memorial Day weekend 2010, the men and women in uniform on the homefront will be keeping in mind the hundreds of Michigan Guardsmen currently deployed overseas.

"Memorial Day is one of the most solemn dates on the American calendar," said Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in suburban Detroit's Harrison Township. "This is the day that we pause to reflect on the sacrifice of the more than 1 million men and women in uniform who have died in service to this nation since the founding of our great country."

As has become the custom, the 127th Wing's aircraft will be crisscrossing the skies over southeast Michigan Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, flying in formation over a number of area parades. Known to the troops as the Warthog, the A-10 aircraft based at Selfridge is a rugged air-to-ground attack aircraft. The A-10s have been operating from Selfridge for only about the past year.

While Memorial Day observances in the U.S. trace their roots back to the days immediately following the U.S. Civil War, the origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. In the 400s B.C., Greek general Pericles led a service to honor the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War, offering this eulogy:

"For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart."

Tributes to the fallen have continued through the ages, though famed World War II leader Gen. George S. Patton stated that ultimately, Americans should not give thanks that brave men and women were willing to die for their country. "Rather we should thank God that such men lived," the general said.