Memorial Day Jump


TT: Every year since 2003 the arctic airborne 2nd battalion 377th parachute field artillery regiment has a Memorial Day jump honoring 7 men who died in combat from the unit. On this day 7 lucky service members of the unit are selected to wear that fallen paratrooper’s name tape instead of their own and jump from the standard C-130. 


TT: On Memorial Day 2021, I was given the honor of jumping with a PFC’s name tape in honor of his sacrifice to his country. Afterwards, family members of the fallen would talk with us and share stories and it’s just a really beautiful way to honor them and keep their legacy alive – especially since in the airborne community a big saying is “Paratroopers never die, they simply Slip away” (we call the limited steering capability of our parachute a “slip”)

TT served in the military in the Airborne 2nd battalion for five years before retiring in 2024. 


Some rituals have deeply personal significance, TT offers a Memorial Day story used to honor the fallen. This ritual was specific to their battalion, but funeral rituals or celebrations for the dead are common in many cultures for many different events. The United States has created an annual festival commemorating veterans through Memorial Day, but the parade is still an example of a funeral or “death day” celebration. Other examples of the celebration of loved ones who have passed are El Dia de los Muertos in Latin America and the Qing Ming Festival in China. Both events are culturally significant festivals designed to honor passed family members.