Remembering heroes across generations.

When our nation thinks of a hero, we usually think of someone who has risked their life for the sake of others and showed courage in the face of fear.  They show resiliency and stand up for something bigger than themselves. While we honor our U.S. Military and celebrate their devoted service to our country, let us not forget that those who serve are humans. They are men, women, fathers, sons, and children. They were all drawn to cause, a patriot’s cause. Those who died are remembered by their families, friends and by their country. While we honor our military, let us always remember to separate the war from the warrior. Not all who serve and sacrifice are our ages, are from our hometowns, or carry our names. But they are people who put their lives on the line for our country and they deserve to be remembered. Here is a beautiful tribute honoring a fallen veteran, Ron.

Ron Joseph Joshua Jr. of  Austin, Texas, fell on this day in 2007. He is remembered by his aunt, Dawn:

Ron Joseph Joshua Jr.

Ron Joseph Joshua Jr.

“Ron Joseph Joshua Jr. I remember you. I remember you when… you were just a pink line on Ursula’s pregnancy test. The great news stretched half way across the world, from Germany and I remember thinking about you as if it was I that was carrying you inside myself.  The news of your birth was as loud as the liberty bell itself. It was as if it rang as you wailed your first  cry. When we got your first picture in the mail, we were a little concerned. Then very relieved at the second one, it’s amazing what  just a few weeks can do for a baby. They grow so fast, you grew so fast. I remember when… you could barely talk, but you could kick really hard, my knee still hurts from those boots. Alls you really ever had  to say was “Dawn .. Fren Frie” and off we went to get you those French Fries and we would sit in McDonald,s sharing fries and dipping them into our chocolate shake.  From skittles to starburst to anything  sweet you could put in your mouth, you were the ultimate junk food junky, with beautiful teeth, that’s so amazing how you could keep that beautiful white smile. And it was the most beautiful smile. I remember when… every Halloween you loved to dress up and scare everyone. And you loved you some chucky. The practical jokester, double darer, always down for whatever, rolling with whoever was rollin’ just to be rollin’, you was rolling, and you were my road dog. Everyone’s side kick. I remember when… you told me about your first kiss, well ok not your first kiss because I do recall that being in daycare but your first young man kiss. You were always flirty with the ladies and yet so shy once you actually got their attention. We thought for sure you would marry Naivi, at the age of 8, its too bad she was 6 years older than you at the time. I remember when… you started to drive, I think everyone remembers  when you started to drive. I think the cars that you drove, remember   when you started to drive. Thank God for insurance. I guess practice  does make perfect. I remember … your Prom Party and your graduation, I remember so much. I remember when…everyone wanted to protect you, even when you were  wrong. But I wanted you to learn about life’s twists and turns. Who was I to even know that one day you would know better than me, for it’s your name that will be inscribed in this nation’s history. You went from boy… to man… to hero so fast, at ease soldier, dust off your boots, put down your Kevlar and rest now in the arms of our father.  For all your life, during all your troubles, your sorrow and your pain, I always wanted to save you but in the end Ron Joseph Joshua Jr., it was you that truly saved me.”

During Memorial Day Weekend, VVMF read the names of every American servicemember who was killed in the line of duty since September 11, 2001.  Like The Wall has done to help heal the wounds of the Vietnam era, VVMF extends that to honor veterans who served in all wars. Vietnam was a turning point in a long line of service. Today, The Wall continues to heal wounds wrought by war and to symbolize America’s deep gratitude for all who serve. And it is time now to honor a new generation of American heroes.  VVMF and The Wall aim to “Honor the fallen, honor the veteran; separate the war from the warrior.”

We will always remember our nation’s heroes and ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten with our future Education Center at The Wall. Coming to the National Mall (projected date of completion: 2019). Help us build it.