Opinion

Best friends buried beside each other would want Americans to celebrate, not mourn

Memorial Day has a special meaning for retired Marine Col. Tom Manion. His son, Travis Manion, who was also a Marine, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery alongside his best friend, Navy SEAL Brendan Looney.

The two met as midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, became fast friends and roommates. Each paid the ultimate sacrifice and became the subject of Manion’s moving book, “Brothers Forever.”

Travis Manion was deployed to Iraq, where he was killed in 2007 during a firefight in an attempt to rescue fellow Marines.

Looney became a SEAL and was deployed to Afghanistan, where he was killed with eight others in a helicopter crash. Knowing the special relationship the brothers in arms had, Looney’s wife requested that he be buried alongside Manion.

“These young men and women that step forward to serve and what they do for us, whether at the Naval Academy or those that enlist and join the different services, they have a strong belief in something bigger than themselves,” Tom Manion told Leland Vittert on “America’s News Headquarters” Sunday.

“They believe in service and they’re patriots and they love this country.”

Manion was asked what his son would want Americans to do to observe Memorial Day.

“I’m not sure that the men and women that didn’t come back want us to necessarily mourn all day on Memorial Day,” Manion said. “They want us to be proud of our country. They loved our country. They want us to celebrate who we are and celebrate what the sacrifice was all about.”

“We, as Americans, could do a lot more to stand up for what they stood for.”

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