HOUSTON – Major Danny Blanton told of that fateful day in July 2005 when he performed CPR on a Marine sergeant fatally wounded when a bomb exploded under the vehicle that sergeant was riding in on a road in Anbar Province Iraq.
Blanton also told of the son of that sergeant who turned down an opportunity to return home after his father died and chose instead to finish out his tour with his unit fighting to bring freedom to Iraq.
“American don’t fight for territory and they certainly don’t fight for oil,” said Blanton, the keynote speaker at Monday’s Memorial Day Service in Houston. “We do fight for freedom and justice for all.”
Blanton, who served with the 102nd Public Affairs Detachment in Bosnia and as a officer in the 105th Infantry Battalion during Operation Desert Storm, said it is an American right to debate causes and America’s involvement in conflicts overseas.
“But we should never debate the dedication and sacrifice of those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who fight in these wars,” said Blanton.
Blanton said 27 Marines who served with him in Iraq did not return home.
“That is what this day is for,” said Blanton. “To honor those who pay the ultimate price for freedom in this country and the world.”
Blanton pointed out only 1 percent of Americans now wear the uniform.
“We need to never forget that so few are asked to do so much,” said Blanton. “We need to always remember what today is truly all about.”
Monday’s ceremony also saw the Pilot Club Missing Man Table set up on the Courthouse Lawn.
The invocation was given by Jason Brassfield, associate pastor of Parkway Baptist Church and a two-tour National Guard Veteran. Veteran Frank Pemper and Johnny Kimbrough read the names of those who died in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Veteran attending Monday’s event were asked to stand and were given a round of applause.
Houston Memorial Day ceremony coordinator Rex Sanderson thanked those in attendance and said the VFW and American Legion is actively seeking the names and history of all local residents who served in the military.
Monday’s ceremony was concluded with the playing of Taps.