Tonight I’m remembering my friend Shane Pugh who was killed in Iraq March 2nd 2005. He and I started at United Blood Services on the same day and worked together for almost 5 years. We were also both Medics in the Army. Shane’s Humvee was hit by an IED. He and another soldier were injured. The other soldier lived. Shane didn’t.

“Shane was an expert in dealing with wounds that come when that happens,” said Maj. Gen. Harold Cross, adjutant general for the Mississippi National Guard. “Though he was injured himself, another soldier lay wounded next to him. Shane directed a group of primarily engineers on what to do to stop that soldier’s bleeding enough to where he could be stabilized.”

Shane was a good friend. I’ve lost several friends that I served with but Shane’s death was the hardest. We never served together but no matter how long it had been since we’d seen each other we would just pick up like we’d talked yesterday. Shane posthumously earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Mississippi Medal of Valor.

I’ve seen a poem floating around the net lately by Charles M. Province and to me it really hits home and embodies the armed services as a whole:

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

I miss my friend. I miss all the friends, husbands, mothers, brothers, and sons who’ve died for this country. Maybe I should have posted this on Memorial Day. Or maybe every day people who’ve died for this country should be remembered.

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