Dogs Of War Deserve Our Gratitude

Tomorrow is Memorial Day and many of us will be spending it with our families.  Some will be having a picnic, others swimming at a pool or hanging out at the beach, grilling in the backyard or maybe even decorating graves.  For many, school is out and summer is here!  The fun has begun and for many, the reason we celebrate Memorial Day has been forgotten.

For a little Memorial Day history…we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of every May.  This very special holiday began after the U.S. Civil War to honor the fallen soldiers and has been observed ever since to remember the men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedoms.  These amazing people made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and the American lifestyle was made possible by them.  Nearly one million men and women have died serving our country since the American Revolution.

We hear about the men and women that serve in the military but there is another group that we don’t hear much about.  This group, the Military working dogs, also give selflessly and should also be remembered.

Dogs have been used in war and for other military uses since ancient Egypt.  They were used to deliver messages between units behind the lines in World War I.  The use of military working dogs increased during the Vietnam War with over 5000 dogs serving in Vietnam.  There were also a large number of dogs that served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And Cairo, a Belgian Malinois, a dog we heard a lot about not too long ago, accompanied the Navy SEAL Team Six in the attack which killed Osama bin Laden.

Dogs are used by the military because they can do things that humans can’t do.  They are amazing creatures and they provide valuable services to the military.  They have powerful noses, keen hearing and are compact in size.  They can track scents, detect bombs and find bodies.  They are used as scouts and go ahead of the humans in their unit to look for enemy combatants, explosive devices, or other dangers that might wait for them.

When we observe Memorial Day and pay tribute to those that have fallen while protecting our country, we should also remember the dogs of war.  Military working dogs have saved too many human lives to count and in doing so they have also become casualties of war.  A lot of times, they save human lives at the expense of their own lives.  They are often the first casualties because they are the line in front of the front line.  There are thousands of dogs that have given their lives so their human comrades could live.  A lot of these dog’s names have been forgotten or were never known.  So on this Memorial Day, please remember the dogs that have played an important role in our nation’s armed forces; many who have paid the ultimate price.  They deserve our thanks and appreciation also.

Filed under: Working Dogs

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