Honoring Those Who Died in the Nation's Service
Every year during the month of May, we remember those who went to war but did not survive the great fight. Honor the military fallen heroes of history in our Memorial Day presentation. Read the quotes from soldiers reflecting on the wars they fought in and view the photos of this nation's historical wars.
All photographs courtesy of the National Archives and the U.S. Department of Defense.
On Guard in Oahu, 1945
There was nothing macho about the war at all. We were a bunch of scared kids who had a job to do.
- E. R. Sledge (WWII, Pacific)
Photo: Infantryman on guard, Kahuku, Oahu, March 1945
Walking to Humvees in Iraq, 2005
You see your guys out there, and you say, 'I'm not going to let those guys go solo.'
- Sgt. Jeffrey Grothause (Afghanistan)
Photo: U.S. soldiers walk back to their Humvees in Al Iskandariyah, Iraq, on March 29, 2005.
On Board the USS Lexington, 1943
I wanted to be a hero...The war'd been going on for two years. I didn't wanna miss it...I was an American. I was seventeen.
- Roger Tuttrup (WWII, Pacific)
Photo: Pilots on board the USS LEXINGTON, November 1943
USS Bunker Hill Is Attacked, 1945
There were big geysers coming up where the shells were landing and there were bodies floating, face down, face up.
- Elliott Johnson (WWII)
Photo: USS BUNKER HILL hit by two kamikazes in 30 seconds on May 11, 1945. Dead: 372. Wounded: 264
Lookng Out for Insurgents in Iraq, 2004
I thought of my wife and children, I said a quick prayer for them and was ready to die.
- Intelligence Specialist Chief (Air Warfare) Mark W. Bell (Desert Storm)
Photo: A U.S. Army soldier watches out for insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 8, 2004.
Gunning for the Enemy
Some of the shells brought my heart into my mouth; lying there waiting for them was intolerable. I was sure I was going to be blown to pieces.
- Hervey Allen (WWI)
Photo: Machine gunners at the front in World War I.
On the Offense in Iraq, 2005
I switched my weapon to fire and emptied it. I was scared out of my mind and furious at the same time.
- Sgt. Ryan Kelly (Iraq)
Photo: U.S. Army soldiers form up along a wall in an area of Al Iskandariyah, Iraq, on March 5, 2005.
Wounded in Korea, 1950
I overheard a doctor tell a corpsman, "Put that one over there. He won't make it." How I prayed it wasn't me he was talking about.
- S/Sgt Lee Bergee (Korea)
Photo: Private First Class, Thomas Conlon, 21st Infantry Regiment, lies wounded on a stretcher in Korea (9/19/1950).
Evacuating a Wounded Soldier, 1967
The tough part is close-up. Seeing what a bullet can do to your friend.
- Lt. Larry Gwin (Vietnam)
Photo: Medic searches the sky for a Medevac helicopter to evacuate a wounded buddy, June 1967.
Leaving Marshall Islands, 1944
...the American people have no idea what all-out war is. We never tasted it. I hope we never do.
- Peter Bezich (WWII, Pacific)
Photo: Marine after two days and nights on the beach of Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. February 1944.
Visiting a Fallen Comrade in Ryukyu Islands, 1945
I lost many, many buddies over there. Some I don't even remember their names. I can still remember their faces, I remember how they died.
- Joe Hanley (WWII, Europe)
Photo: Coast Guardsmen pay homage to a comrade who lost his life in action in the Ryukyu Islands, 1945.