Dad, RMCS James S. Steele, Pleiku, Vietnam, 1968.


Honor the fallen - duty, honor, respect

Jacksonville, FL

Some humble thoughts as we kick off this 2022 Memorial Day weekend ....

Duty, Honor, Respect - so much more than three simple words.

Memorial Day weekend - so much more than backyard BBQ's, beach days, mini vacations, and fun with family and friends. Let us be reminded of those who served our country, whether voluntarily or by draft conscription, and paid the supreme sacrifice honoring that commitment. More than 645,000 have lost their lives in service to our country since World War I. I am one of the fortunate ones who never experienced the horrors of combat.

But, coming from a military family growing up a Navy brat and the son of a Vietnam combat veteran, the true meaning of Memorial Day hits home for me. During my lifetime, I only heard my father, RMCS James S. Steele, USN (ret.), speak twice about his combat experiences in and around Pleiku, Vietnam, from Feb. 1968 - Feb. 1969, and of the men he knew who were killed or are missing ... and both times I saw that big 6'5" hulk of a man break down in tears, sobbing with grief and raw emotion. Every time I sound taps, I picture that image and resolve to always honor our fallen and their service.

We as free Americans have a duty to honor and respect our fallen, those who have lost their lives in service to our country and our freedom. So, let us go and have our fun - but remember, ALWAYS remember, those who paid the ultimate price so that we are afforded our freedom and our ability to enjoy it. Freedom is not free....

Duty, Honor, Respect.

Jim Steele, Taps Bugler, SAL Florida Squadron 137, ALR Florida Chapter 137, Taps for Veterans, Bugles Across America, Scoutmaster Troop 522 BSA North Florida Council.... and grateful American citizen. Jacksonville, Fla.

Honor and Remember

Dad, Naples, Italy, 1976.

Dad's headstone at Jacksonville National Cemetery.

Me, Jim Steele, bugler, SAL Squadron 137, Jacksonville, Fla.
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