My grandfather, Vietnam Veteran LTC John Bugenske and my grandmother Nancy are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. When I get to visit them, I'll often pass a soldier or Marine who died in battle. I'll remember their name, and try to learn what I can about them when I get home.

Psychiatrist Irvin Yalom is well known for saying (and I'm paraphrasing) that when you truly die is when you are no longer in someone's memory. Everyone who knows you, dies, too. Learning about a serviceman or woman is my way of honoring them and keeping them alive.

Arlington National Cemetery
David Bugenske/BSM Bangor

If you are looking for a way to pay respects this Memorial Day Weekend, or a unique and special way to teach your children the meaning of Memorial Day, here is a list of all the Medal of Honor recipients buried in Maine. These Mainers sacrificed their lives to save others.

Army Master Sergeant Gary Ivan Gordon Was Born and Buried in Maine

MSG Gordon was born in Lincoln, ME and buried at West Broadway Cemetery in Lincoln after he lost his life in Somalia in 1993. The movie Black Hawk Down from 2001 is based on the battle where MSG Gordon courageously sacrificed his life. MSG Gordon's Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to his widow by President Clinton in 1994.

Burial Site for MSG Gary Gordon
Google Maps - West Broadway Cemetery

M/Sgt. Gary I. Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by action above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. M/Sgt. Gordon's sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault, and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When M/Sgt. Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, M/Sgt. Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused him to abort the first attempt, M/Sgt. Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and pistol, M/Sgt. Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. M/Sgt. Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. M/Sgt. Gordon used his long-range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. M/Sgt. Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew's weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. M/Sgt. Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded, and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, M/Sgt. Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words "Good Luck." Then, armed only with his pistol, MSgt. Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. M/Sgt. Gordon's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army. - MOH Citation

Three Heroes from Maine Received the Medal of Honor from Vietnam

SGT Brian Leroy Buker

One of those heroes was Sergeant Brian Leroy Buker from Benton, ME. SGT Buker was only 20 years old when he gave his life in battle. He is buried in the same town he was born in Benton in Brown Cemetery.

Burial Site of SGT Brian Leroy Buker
Google Maps - Burial Site of SGT Brian Leroy Buker

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Buker, Detachment B-55, distinguished himself while serving as a platoon adviser of a Vietnamese mobile strike force company during an offensive mission. Sgt. Buker personally led the platoon, cleared a strategically located well-guarded pass, and established the first foothold at the top of what had been an impenetrable mountain fortress. When the platoon came under the intense fire from a determined enemy located in 2 heavily fortified bunkers, and realizing that withdrawal would result in heavy casualties, Sgt. Buker unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, charged through the hail of enemy fire and destroyed the first bunker with hand grenades. While reorganizing his men for the attack on the second bunker, Sgt. Buker was seriously wounded. Despite his wounds and the deadly enemy fire, he crawled forward and destroyed the second bunker. Sgt. Buker refused medical attention and was reorganizing his men to continue the attack when he was mortally wounded. As a direct result of his heroic actions, many casualties were averted, and the assault of the enemy position was successful. Sgt. Buker's extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army. - MOH Citation

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A Maine Veteran Was Awarded the Medal of Honor for His Bravery in WWII

SGT Edward Dahlgren was born in Perham, ME. For his bravery in WWII, SGT Dahlgren was promoted to 2Lt in addition to being awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman. Dahlgren left the military as a 2Lt and is buried at Pierce Cemetery in Mars Hill, ME.

Burial Site of 2Lt Edward C. Dahlgren
Google Maps - Burial Site of 2Lt Edward C. Dahlgren

He led the 3d Platoon to the rescue of a similar unit which had been surrounded in an enemy counterattack at Oberhoffen, France. As he advanced along a street, he observed several Germans crossing a field about 100 yards away. Running into a barn, he took up a position in a window and swept the hostile troops with submachine gun fire, killing 6, wounding others, and completely disorganizing the group. His platoon then moved forward through intermittent sniper fire and made contact with the besieged Americans. When the 2 platoons had been reorganized, Sgt. Dahlgren continued to advance along the street until he drew fire from an enemy-held house. In the face of machine pistol and rifle fire, he ran toward the building, hurled a grenade through the door, and blasted his way inside with his gun. This aggressive attack so rattled the Germans that all 8 men who held the strongpoint immediately surrendered. As Sgt. Dahlgren started toward the next house, hostile machinegun fire drove him to cover. He secured rifle grenades, stepped to an exposed position, and calmly launched his missiles from a difficult angle until he had destroyed the machinegun and killed its 2 operators. He moved to the rear of the house and suddenly came under the fire of a machinegun emplaced in a barn. Throwing a grenade into the structure, he rushed the position, firing his weapon as he ran; within, he overwhelmed 5 Germans. After reorganizing his unit he advanced to clear hostile riflemen from the building where he had destroyed the machinegun. He entered the house by a window and trapped the Germans in the cellar, where he tossed grenades into their midst, wounding several and forcing 10 more to surrender. While reconnoitering another street with a comrade, he heard German voices in a house. An attack with rifle grenades drove the hostile troops to the cellar. Sgt. Dahlgren entered the building, kicked open the cellar door, and, firing several bursts down the stairway, called for the trapped enemy to surrender. Sixteen soldiers filed out with their hands in the air. The bold leadership and magnificent courage displayed by Sgt. Dahlgren in his heroic attacks were in a large measure responsible for repulsing an enemy counterattack and saving an American platoon from great danger. - MOH Citiation

21 Great Memorial Day Songs

Of course the best Memorial Day songs come from country music greats. Check out the Top 20 songs that honor fallen soldiers, including well-known hits by Toby Keith, Billy Ray Cyrus, the Statler Brothers and more.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

12 Songs That Honor Fallen Soldiers

Each of the 12 songs on this list of country hits that honor fallen soldiers pay tribute to brave men and women who didn't come home from war. A few — like George Jones' and the Statler Brothers' contributions — recognize thousands of fallen soldiers. Each one is personal and emotional. Each one is perfect for a Memorial Day remembrance.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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