Air Force ROTC on Memorial Day

What does Memorial Day mean for you?

Most faculty, staff, and students at Brigham Young University won’t have the opportunity to serve in the military. But those who do have a unique perspective on Memorial Day; it’s much more than a day off work or school. Members of the US Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 855 shared with The Exchange what Memorial Day means to them.

Andy Nelson

Cadet Second Lieutenant Andy Nelson

Junior, Information Technology

“I think about my family’s sacrifices for our country. My brother and brother-in-law have been deployed, and my grandpa served in the navy. I think about the tradition we have of honoring our country. That especially includes honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. For me, Memorial Day is about living up to my family tradition in addition to teaching others to have respect for the sacrifices made before.”





MMajor Slikajor Mark Slik

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies

“I was named after my uncle who died as a second lieutenant during the Korean War. While working at the Pentagon I had the opportunity to go to his gravesite in Arlington. When I think of Memorial Day I think of what he was willing to do in order to preserve what this country is all about. I think of those who are willing to risk everything because what they are risking it for is worth everything.”






Drew SlikDrew Slik

Junior, Manufacturing Engineering and Technology

“Memorial Day is a time to appreciate all the sacrifices that both the members of the military and their families make for the freedoms we enjoy. My dad has gone on a lot of deployments to Iraq and other places. We’ve definitely felt that sacrifice in our family. Memorial Day has always been an opportunity to seriously reflect on the sacrifices of those around us.”






Nathan AndrusCadet Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Andrus

Senior, Sociology

“My family used to have a Memorial Day potluck every year. Neighbors, friends, and fellow church members would come to have a good time. Before everybody ate, we would raise the American flag. I was always the one to carry and raise the flag with two of my friends. I would wear my Boy Scout uniform with pride as we marched across our lawn and raised the colors. After a prayer everybody would eat, and I would go and put my uniform away. While the meal was fun, I would think about the sacrifices of the men and women who did so much to protect our freedom.”




 ChaseCadet Major Chase Leftwich 

Senior, International Relations

“My dad just retired from the air force. Growing up and living overseas, you tend to focus on Memorial Day a bit more. When Memorial Day comes around, it’s a way of remembering those who have passed on defending our country. It’s a time to reflect on what makes this country free and what really gives us the opportunities we have.”








Captain Matthew Pinegar

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies

“Memorial Day has always been an important holiday for my family and me. My dad and his twin brother both graduated from BYU and served in the Korean War. They joined their three older brothers who had served in World War II. Memorial Day is an important way for me to remember them and the sacrifices they made.”








Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Janel Mayfield

Senior, Manufacturing Engineering and Technology

“Memorial Day is a set-aside time where I am able to honor and remember all of the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.  It helps remind us that our freedoms aren’t free.”









Master Sergeant Maria Perrin

Non Commissioned Officer in Charge

“I think of the many wars that our country has been in and those who served in them. Specifically, I think of my husband’s grandpa, Albert Perrin. He wore three uniforms: navy, army, and air force. He served in three wars—World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. I also think about senior airman Mark Forester who was killed in action September 2010.  I think of his family. I think of the 2,345 soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors who have died in Afghanistan since the start of the war in 2001 and the 4,486 who died in Iraq. I think of the veterans who brought post-traumatic stress disorder home with them. Memorial Day is a day to reflect on those who sacrificed in order for us to live with the rights that we have in this amazing nation. Those rights exist because of every single veteran.”