By Andy RyanFOX News Channel Employee/Army Reservist

"I am a loyal American soldier. I believe in things larger than myself and making sacrifices for the greater good" - Excerpt from a letter written by Jonathan K. Dozier to his father before he was killed in Iraq.

So what are you doing this Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes?

[caption id="attachment_11660" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Jon and Carl Dozier. Photo courtesy of Carl Dozier"][/caption]

Going to the beach, playing golf, gardening or throwing a barbeque for the family? Yeah, I know Memorial Day weekend is the "unofficial first day of the summer", but what are YOU doingthis Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes?

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We honor Jonathan for his sacrifice on that January day in Iraq.

Don't worry, I am not getting on a soap box and scolding Americans if they don't pointedly spend the day honoring our fallen heroes; doing so would make me a hypocrite.

[caption id="attachment_11662" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Jon and his daughter Emma Grace. Photo courtesy of Carl Dozier"][/caption]

There have been plenty of Mondays where I made a promise to change something and by the time I wake up on Tuesday, my Monday promises have faded from my memory. At times like this, I look for motivation to help me solidify my Monday promises. Motivation can come from a variety of places: divine intervention, words of wisdom from a friend or the example of others. This year, my motivation comes from Carl Dozier.

Carl is the father of SSG Jonathan K. Dozier; Jonathan was one of the Sinsil 7. On January 9, 2008 in Sinsil, Iraq, a house-borne improvised explosive device detonated and killed Jonathan and 6 of his brothers-in-arms:

  • CPL Todd Davis;
  • SSG Jonathan Dozier;
  • SSG Sean Gaul;
  • SGT Zachary McBride;
  • SFC Matt Pionk;
  • SGT Christopher Sanders; and
  • Iraqi interpreter, Roy

On Jonathan's birthday in September 2008, Carl and about 30 family friends had a remembrance birthday party. While a few tears were shed, many a laugh and stories were also shared.

This Memorial Day, Carl is dedicating a Soldier's Cross in honor of Jonathan and others who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Jonathan's squadron commander and others plan to attend the dedication (some are coming from the squadron's home in Germany).

[caption id="attachment_11663" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="The Dozier Soldier's Cross will be dedicated on Memorial Day weekend. Courtesy: Carl Dozier"][/caption]

Please don't think Carl is someone who active just because of Jonathan; he has always been involved. In his hometown, he has served on the Mayor's Commission on Veteran's Affairs since 1998. Carl is also active with the Honor and Remember campaign. The campaign strives to make the Honor and Remember flag a national symbol (it's similar to the POW/MIA flag).

So this year, I am truly twice blessed. I served with Jonathan Dozier and I honor him not only for his sacrifice but for the person he is and always will be -- his life is permanently etched in the memories of many and continues to guide them.

And if it wasn't for Carl Dozier's efforts, I may have failed in properly honoring Jonathan and my other comrades who sacrificed themselves for their country. Thank you, Carl!

That's my story. Now what are YOU doing this Memorial Day to honor our fallen heroes?