They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast, And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest

Memorial Day (or weekend as it has become for most) is a day to remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their UncleCharlie.country. I heard that nearly 85% of Americans don’t even know what Memorial Day signifies. I find it quite sad that so many think of this national holiday as only picnics and barbeques. I will have a family get-together also, but it will be a day of remembrance for those who served and died. That picture is Uncle Charlie, my Pop’s uncle. He was born in Oklahoma on September 20, 1922. At the tender age of 23, this beloved husband and young father of one, was serving aboard the U.S.S. Mannert L. Abele as Fireman, First Class. On April 12, 1945, the U.S.S. Abele was on radar picket duty outside of Okinawa. Their job was to warn others of incoming air attacks. On that April morning, the Adele came under attack by Japanese kamikaze fighters. They were able to fight off initial kamikaze attackers but after 45 minutes of battle, three planes closed in to attack. The Abele drove off one, shot down a second, and nearly shot down the third before it crashed into the starboard side of the ship causing serious damage. Moments later, the Abele took a second and fatal hit from a rocket powered, human-guided kamikaze attack plane (Okha) and sunk. 79 of her crew were lost with the ship and remain on duty. That includes my great uncle: Charles Evan Hughes. He received the Purple Heart and is memorialized in Honolulu at the WWII Memorial. Please take a moment during your celebration today, Memorial Day, to remember the lives of all the men and women who gave their lives for our country and freedom.

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