A Promise to Remember: OMAM’s Guest Speakers Highlight the Meaning of Sacrifice

A Promise to Remember: OMAM’s Guest Speakers Highlight the Meaning of Sacrifice

Retired US Navy Captain William Tootie has vowed to make sure the sacrifices of a crew of marines during World War II are not forgotten. It’s a promise he’s been trying to keep for the past two decades.

As the final commander of the USS Indianapolis, Totti shared the story of the 316 surviving crew members from the cruiser of the same name. The crew members had recently completed a mission to deliver parts of the atomic bomb destined for Hiroshima, and on July 30, a Japanese submarine was attacked. The USS Indianapolis sank, and those who survived the initial accident spent the next five days trying to survive while stranded in the ocean.

Totti, of Ormond Beach, met many survivors later in his military life, and when he remembers their sacrifices – along with all the other veterans who had to endure so many trials for their country, he says nothing he has not personally experienced in his 26 life. Compare years of active service.

However, Totti himself is a survivor, having lived through the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.

He said, “Many of my friends died that day, but I didn’t for some reason. When something like this happens to you, you can’t help but wonder why you were saved when there weren’t many others. It took years for me to make peace with How that happened, but I did in the end.”

Totti was one of the featured speakers during the Veterans Day celebration at the Ormond Memorial Museum of Art on Thursday, November 11, which was held in the museum’s lawn parking lot under a white tent. More than 150 citizens, veterans and community leaders attended the annual event, which returned to this personal format. general.

Decades of stories

OMAM’s history with veterans goes back to its inception. In 1946, it was built in honor of the veterans of World War I and World War II, many of whom participated in its construction. The museum, which is currently undergoing a $3.5 million renovation, contains four veteran memorials, and when the new building opens in 2022, the original building will be prominently displayed in the reception area, said Lisa Perry, chair of the museum’s board.

“Your service and sacrifice have kept our country safe and free, and we are forever grateful for your service,” said Berry.

The theme of remembering the sacrifices made by veterans continued in Kathy Heiger’s speech. Heather, an American mother with a gold star, is the co-founder of Remembering Vets, a local nonprofit that supports local veterans and first responders.

As promised to remember.

Her youngest son died in Iraq in 2003, and when she found herself in a club she said she never wanted to be a part of: the mothers who lost their children while serving in the US armed forces. The first time I went to an American Gold Star Mothers meeting, I watched mothers tell the stories of their fallen sons and daughters, some of whom had died decades earlier.

Heiger said she laughed to herself. I thought this wouldn’t be her.

She said, “I’m here today.” “Nearly 20 years have passed, and I am still telling that story, just as I have seen all these other beautiful American Gold Star Dedicated Mothers telling their stories and remembering them. Honoring them, I tell you today — not a day goes by that I don’t think of my beloved son and all service members, men and women, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of this great nation.”

“earn this”

Totti said all members of the US armed forces know that there may come a time when they are asked to make the “maximum sacrifice”. But no one thinks the sacrifice might come outside the front lines.

“But that’s the world we live in today,” Totti said. “It’s a world with no definite front lines. It’s a world where the front line could be tomorrow in your backyard.”

The idea of ​​sacrifice, he added, is something that veterans who served after 9/11 share with veterans of past wars. Thousands of civilians were killed that day, and thousands of soldiers died after that.

“However, the concept of sacrifice has become foreign to most Americans,” Totti said. “It seems to be limited to a very small percentage of our population, most of whom are veterans. But it wasn’t always that way.”

During World War II, Americans engaged in scrap metal and rubber engines to aid in the war effort. They planted victory gardens and endured harsh rationing. They bought war bonds.

Totti said things changed in the generations that followed, and despite the nation’s unification on September 12, 2001, the unity and the idea of ​​universal sacrifice did not last. Instead, he said, only those who served after 9/11 endured those sacrifices. And recently, when people were asked to wear a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19, many refused.

“If wearing a mask represents great sacrifices in the modern age, what does that say about the intrinsic sacrifices that previous generations had to make, or future generations might have to make?” Totti said.

He concluded by referring to the 1998 film, Saving Private Ryan, in which the dying character of Captain John Miller tells Private Ryan to “earn this,” highlighting the sacrifice he made in the line of duty.

Totti asked, “Did we win this?” , “I’m afraid we haven’t had it, and knowing this, I worry about posterity, because if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we struggle to learn any lessons from history. Let’s win this, starting today, and let’s be Veterans Day This serves as a reminder that we need to earn this every day in the future.”

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