For most veterans and military families, this can be a somber day. Unfortunately, most will know of at least one soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day originated as a day to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. On this Memorial Day, I am going to pause and remember 1LT Mathew G. Fazzari.
Mathew was a senior when I was freshmen in ROTC. He was one of the best cadets to come through the program. He was a natural leader, a great mentor, and someone we all looked up to. As a newbie to ROTC and military life, he made a big and lasting impression on me. Mathew commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and become a OH-58D Kiowa helicopter pilot.
I will never forget the message I received from our commander informing us that Mathew had been killed in action in Afghanistan just a couple of years later. At the time, I thought we were all “high speed” and invincible. I could not believe someone as amazing and talented as 1LT Fazzari could be taken away from us just like that. His picture was placed outside of our military science classroom and I passed it every day. It was a personal reminder that our country was still at war, and there is a huge price to be paid for the basic freedoms we all take for granted every day.
This Memorial Day, I will stop. I will take time to remember Mathew. I will thank him for his service and ultimate sacrifice, and I will pray for his family. No matter who you are, military connections or not, I encourage you to stop and reflect (if even just for one minute) upon the American soldiers who never came home. The soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. The brave men and women who chose to serve so we can live in this beautiful country we call home. We are still…the land of the free, and the home of the brave.