As Americans come together to celebrate Memorial Day there is a renewed sense of patriotic pride with the successful mission that killed Osama bin Laden. The Navy SEALs, who truly serve at the tip of the spear of American military might, showed the world the capability and determination of our armed forces, and we at Citizens United are truly grateful for them.
From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, Americans have time and again answered the call to duty. Without the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform each and every day, you and I could not enjoy the freedom that America provides. Memorial Day is a chance for all Americans to reflect on and remember those service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Citizens United Productions had a great opportunity to film a decorated World War II veteran in our latest documentary A City Upon A Hill: The Spirit of American Exceptionalism. Born in Chicago, Carmen Miceli was 17 when he joined the Army. With the permission of his parents, he volunteered for a year of military service in April of 1941. Later that year the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and America was thrust into World War II.
An infantry sergeant, Carmen Miceli says of his fellow comrades, “You got your buddies, you can’t help but bond with them and you protect each other – that’s the name of the game in the infantry.”
In A City Upon A Hill, Carmen Miceli shares the emotional story of how a heroic act by one of his fellow soldiers saved his life. One of the members of his platoon, named Amijan Lazar, made the ultimate sacrifice: “He saved the whole squad, instead of going this way, he went that way and bumped into a machine gun, took the machine gun, knocked them out, bullets through him, he was killed. He got the Distinguished Service Cross, second from the Congressional Medal of Honor.”
The story of the selfless actions of Amijan Lazar to save his fellow soldiers is a great testament to every American soldier. Without their heroic acts, our world could have ultimately floundered in the face of tyranny.
For his service, Carmen Miceli received four Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for valor. Miceli brought the same work ethic that he learned in the United States Army back home after the war and became a very successful restaurateur. A member of the “Greatest Generation,” Carmen Miceli has lived the American dream, and his story is uniquely American.
Sadly, America is losing an average of 1,000 World War II veterans a day. The stories of these great men and women should be honored and shared by all Americans. So please take a moment on Memorial Day to remember the valiant soldiers who have died for the freedom that we all so cherish, and pass their stories on to your children and grandchildren. Without their sacrifices, America as we know it would not exist, and we must never forget that.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!