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Fourth of July commentary: Service members’ ultimate sacrifice united by love of country

(Defense Department graphic)

Commentary by  Eddie Adelman, Mitchell Hall director

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — During my 25-year active duty career I spent a majority of my time serving as a mortuary officer, including three years as a member of the Dover Port Mortuary team, where we provided dignity, honor and respect for fallen service members as they returned home to their final resting place.

Standing on the Dover Air Force Base flightline at attention during the dignified transfers and watching the flag-draped transfer cases being carried off the aircraft by the honor guard as the families huddled together, I could help but be deeply touched by the sacrifice these men and women made for our nation.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of those fallen service members and their families. Being part of this team was a sacred duty that made me kiss my spouse a little longer and hug my children a little tighter. A duty that made me appreciate every minute of every day.

While serving our nation’s fallen and their families, it often occurred to me that there was never any mention of politics, religion, or race; –only dignity, honor, and respect. Those fallen service members were serving their country, represented by the “red, white and blue” — the U.S. flag.

When they were fighting in foxholes, on ships, or in the air, they didn’t think about political affiliation, gender, race, orientation or religion. They only thought about their battle buddies, their wingmen or their loved ones back home.

As a country, we should remember their sacrifice and honor them. Instead of looking through a lens of politics, race, religion or any other prism that separates us, let’s work together to looking through the lens of the “red, white and blue.”