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The Ultimate Sacrifice: 5 Inspiring Stories About America's Fallen Heroes

Videos feature members of the armed forces who gave their lives and those who honor them

Several soldiers salute the flag

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Memorial Day is a time to both honor and mourn U.S. military personnel who died in service to their country. For this Memorial Day, take the time to watch these five original videos consisting of interviews and archival footage that tell the stories of those who gave up their lives, from World War II to Vietnam and Iraq.


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The Arlington Ladies: Burying America’s Heroes

The Air Force Arlington Ladies was created after its founder witnessed some Air Force funerals that had only a chaplain and bugler present. Since 1948, they have not missed a single airman's funeral. Meet Sandra Griffin, a leader in the all-volunteer community.

Rhodes Scholar Leads Marines into Vietnam

Karl Marlantes served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. As a platoon leader, he became close with his radio operator Charles Thomas. Marlantes recalls a fateful battle in the hills of Vietnam where Thomas was killed just a couple of weeks before he was set to return home.

Sinking a Battleship and Dodging Kamikaze Attack in WWII

During the U.S.-led invasion of the Philippines in October 1944, a fleet of Japanese battleships attempted to run the 47-mile Surigao Strait. Phil Hollywood, who was aboard the USS Melvin, describes the importance of telling these World War II battle stories to younger generations.

Soldier Braves Gunfire in Attempt to Save Friend

Sgt. First Class Gary Villalobos arrived in Iraq in 2005. Months later, his squadron was in its first major operation in Tal Afar. Listen to Villalobos tell the story of Lt. Col. Terrence Crowe's death and how it taught him the meaning of sacrifice and heroism.

The First Battle of Vietnam: The Battle of la Drang

In the first major U.S. engagement in Vietnam, Col. Tony Nadal tells the story of the unprecedented helicopter-borne assault against North Vietnamese forces. He explains why he could not leave his wounded soldiers behind despite an onslaught of enemy gunfire and grenades.

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