BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
KAYSVILLE — Some march, some fly and some sail off around the world, said General Robert C. Oaks of the men and women in the United States military.
We owe our thanks to the hundreds of those in the military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, he told the audience.
“They all do it to secure and to preserve the freedom we enjoy,” he said. “Our freedom is something to be cherished. We are a very fortunate people.”
One by one, he read the names of his classmates or squadron mates who made the final sacrifice.
“They made one more take-off than landing,” he said, “never returning home to enjoy the freedom for which they offered their lives.”
Oaks was the keynote speaker at Kaysville’s Memorial Day program, held in the Kaysville cemetery on Monday.
It was one of several events held throughout Davis County to celebrate the national holiday and to remember those who have given their lives in the service, as well as loved ones who have died.
The program included the Davis High drum line accompanying the presentation of the colors by American Legion Farmington Post 27 Honor Guard, a rifle volley honoring fallen veterans and a playing of taps by Bugles Across America.
In introducing Oaks, retired Col. Steven Hall called him an “exceptional citizen.”
At one time, Oaks was Commander in Chief of the Allied Air Forces in Central Europe.
He flew 188 combat missions over Southeast Asia and has logged more than 4,000 flying hours, including 300 combat hours.
Oaks shared the history of Memorial Day celebrations, once called Decoration Day, and read from the journal of a World War II veteran who flew missions in a B-17 and was shot down over enemy territory on his 24th flight, but who managed to find his way home.
Of those who flew in B-17s over Europe, 30,000 were killed or are missing in action and another 30,000 were taken as prisoners of war, he said, something he called “tremendous losses.”
“We have left some of our finest blood spread around the world to demonstrate our commitment to freedom,” he said, after listing the cemeteries from Normandy in France to Punchbowl in Hawaii.
Quoting a passage he read in a cemetery abroad, he said, “We gave you our todays so you can have your tomorrows.”
“We can honor their deaths by how we live and how we conduct ourselves,” he said. “We can use each day more productively.”