Memorial Day was created to honor the men and women who gave their last full measure while serving in the United States Military. It is a somber day of reflection, but that doesn’t mean you have to sulk around. It should be a day spent honoring their lives and rejoicing in the freedoms they’ve served to protect.

Although the day was established to honor those who’ve perished in service to our country, it’s become common place to honor all our loved ones who’ve passed from this life to the next.

As a child, Memorial Day meant taking those long trips in the car with Dad to see gravesites. Back then it was boring, I didn’t understand it fully. Of course, I know now my father was going to honor family, to be present for them on this day of mourning. A memory which left an impression.

As an adult I’ve spent many Memorial Days driving across Iowa, just as my father does. I take the same route, reflect on the same memories, and shed the same tears.

I’ve always tried to honor their lives the best I can. One specific person I honor daily is my friend James O’Quin. I’m sure some people have either seen or know of somewhere wearing a metal bracelet with a name on it, often time it’s a KIA/MIA bracelet. I wear one with my friend’s name, and date he passed. I don’t talk much about my time in the Army, but when asked about the bracelet, I will happily talk about James. We arrived at Fort Campbell, Kentucky around the same time, were gym buddies, and both forward deployed to the same base, FOB Orgun-E Afghanistan

Sadly, his time was cut short. July 23rd, 2010, James was swept away after a levee broke near his vehicle. It’s in James honor that I am proud to continue to fight for the freedoms here at home that we went abroad to protect. I do this through volunteering for Iowa Firearms Coalition.

The Iowa Firearms Coalition has vehemently fought to preserve and protect the freedoms secured by the sacrifice of Americans at home and abroad. We would like to take this Memorial Day to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom, our freedom. May we continue our mission in their names.
Take this Memorial Day to reflect on those we’ve lost, speak their names, and share their stories. All they ask is to be remembered.

“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.” Calvin Coolidge, 1920.

For Freedom.
Dillon Daughenbaugh
IFC Comms Director