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Altizer honors Memorial Day – “More than names on a wall”

Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm



CPL – E4 – Army – Selective Service 

1st Cav Division (AMBL) 


His tour began on Oct 8, 1969

Casualty was on Oct 8, 1969


Non-Hostile, died missing, GROUND CASUALTY


Body was not recovered

Panel 17W – Line 49 


By Andy Altizer


I never knew Harold Altizer, and am not even sure he’s kin to me, but would imagine that he was since we have a less-than-common last name.  Several years ago I saw a posting on the internet from his best friend in high school honoring him on Memorial Day.  I emailed him and told him that my daughter would wear Harold’s memorial bracelet in his honor.  His wife replied back that her husband was too emotional to even reply.  She said that her husband always feared that when he was gone that no one would ever remember Harold, and was now thankful that he would not be forgotten.

For some, Memorial Day is a time to spend with family, go to the lake, barbeque or simply take a break from the daily grind of work.  According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.  By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.  It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Memorial Day is sometimes confused with Veterans Day.  Basically, Memorial Day is a day to honor fallen warriors, while Veterans Day is a day to celebrate the service of all veterans.   I believe it is important for us to take a few minutes this weekend to honor the fallen.  Seeing a picture of a fallen soldier on the Omaha Beach, the names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall or even the rows and rows of crosses and stars at the Arlington National Cemetery is emotional and memorable.  We must remember that each person represented by these memorials was someone’s loved one – a son, daughter, husband, etc.  I, myself, remember seeing a solider rushed off a medivac helicopter in Afghanistan in the spring of 2002.  Two soldiers quickly carried him on a gurney as a medic continued to provide emergency care.   Someone else carried the IV.  The situation didn’t appear to be going well, and later I found out that he didn’t make it.  I always wondered; did this person have a wife, kids?   Was this person’s mother met at the front door with a message that her son was killed in a remote faraway land?

Check out the rest of Mr. Altizer’s story on the front page of the May 21 edition of the Times.