If All Of This Week Were Compressed Into One Day: A Historical Look At May 29

Photo by Kyle Hinrichs

Memorial Day and the days around it inspire me and spark feelings of nostalgia. I am inspired by those who served before me and sacrificed their lives, and by the men and women currently serving their country. This attitude persists in the days before and after the holiday weekend. May 29 this year is at the end of the Memorial Day week and includes significant events relative to the observance of fallen heroes.

For some, Memorial Day is a full day of memories, perhaps of a relative or friend who died in the service of their country. If the soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman was a close family member or friend, then the constant memories are amplified on that specific day. For many, the memories linger for a while and there can be sadness mixed with thankfulness for knowing these people who lived and died with honor.

Each day on the calendar holds significance commemorating the death of service members. If your loved one died on May 29, for instance, they share that date with five recipients of the Medal of Honor, whose actions on May 29 brought them recognition for gallant service, according to military historical records.

Exactly ten years ago, the United States dedicated the World War II Memorial in Washington, D. C. The dedication ceremony on May 29, 2004, capped a four-day “grand reunion” of veterans as the nation formally paid tribute to “The Greatest Generation,” according to the National Park Service website.

And on the subject of WWII, May 29, 1943, marks the publication of the famous “Rosie the Riveter” cover done by Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post. This iconic image celebrated the contributions of all Americans to the war effort, regardless of gender, and it still inspires us today to recognize our diversity.

There is no doubt that the men and women who lived through WWII and continued to build America afterwards deserve the title “the greatest generation.” There are good indications they have passed on these qualities of hard work, patriotism and service to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Two of my young friends in the military recently posted photos of themselves inspired by Rosie the Riveter. They are both smart, hard-working, and contribute greatly to their respective organizations. They represent positive, can-do attitudes of the current generation, which I find alive and well among young people.

Another look at this date in history gives clues to the positive trend of America. There are anniversaries of battles and meetings, such as in May of 1988 when President Ronald Reagan traveled to Moscow for the first time and met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, resulting in a treaty reducing nuclear weapons in Europe. Hallmarks like this served to further the march of freedom.

Perhaps it is not very recent, but on May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Mount Everest for the first time. Feats like that continue to inspire us for generations.

Those with May 29 birthdays share the date with Bob Hope and President John F. Kennedy, both leaders in their own way who defined iconic periods of American history.

An attitude of nostalgia, positive accomplishments and hope for the future prevails this time of year. Along with the commemorations of those who sacrificed their lives for their country, the Memorial Day weekend and days following serve as the unofficial kick-off of summer activities.

I think that is great. Summer means let’s go places and do things. We can be free to do what we want because of the sacrifices of those who served before us.

M. G. Moss is a storyteller and imagerist and launched LightWriting, LLC after retiring from the military in 2013. He served 31 years in uniform, mostly as a broadcast journalist with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service on active duty, and as a combat visual information specialist with the Air National Guard, deploying for two combat tours in Southwest Asia.



Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)

A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.

So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.

Read More Show Less

R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.

Read More Show Less
A B-2 Spirit bomber deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing fly near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during a interoperability training mission Jan. 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Russ Scalf)

The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.

These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.

Read More Show Less