Home > National > Memorial Day: Honor and Reverence (and NOT on Sale)

Memorial Day: Honor and Reverence (and NOT on Sale)

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: Honor and Reverence

Patriot Post May 27, 2013

The Foundation

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” –Thomas Paine

Three Stories

2013-05-27-brief“With many friends who have served our nation in the air from World War II to the present, and as the proud parent of an Air Force Academy cadet, I invite you to take a moment and read the story of Bill Crawford, a man who went from sweeping combat fields in search of the enemy, to mopping halls and picking up trash for his fellow Americans. He was known only as a squadron floor janitor at the Air Force Academy until his heroic acts were rediscovered by an AFA ’77 cadet and then properly acknowledged by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.”

Read the rest of the story as Mark Alexander tells it in Heroism, Humility and Leadership.

“As Americans nationwide mark Memorial Day, this will be my first Memorial Day without my dad. He was a World War II veteran. Since my father’s passing two months ago, seven years after my mother’s, I consider how both significant and ephemeral their lives were. My parents were born in the 1920s, and their formative years were spent surmounting two of the greatest crises this country has faced: the Great Depression and World War II. … Dad became a soldier, and in October 1944, days before he shipped out to fight in the Pacific, they were married. Like many newlyweds then, they did not see each other for two years. But for her, he would ultimately dedicate his life for 61 years. Dad was an army construction engineer, a dangerous job. I knew long ago that Dad had incurred a wartime injury, but I never heard it from him. … At our father’s funeral, my oldest brother revealed that Dad had been burned over much of his body. He recovered and went back to active duty, but I never saw him on a beach without a shirt and long shorts. … After the war, my father’s life was characterized by competence. He never strived to become elite in society: a celebrity, plutocrat, or even a member of the country club. He was successful in his chosen career as a factory engineer. He was there when I needed him and faithful to his chronically ill wife. … The fierce independence of the American spirit was sublimated to strength in the faithful soldiers of our wars. Many of those soldiers of World War II are dying only now, as are their sweethearts, and freedom depends on their children and our children. Requiescat in pace, Dad and Mom.” –professor Dr. Glenn A. Marsch

“Another [good, God-fearing American] was John Shrode. Born in Rockport, Indiana, August 11, 1925, just four days after the birth of the girl (Martha) he would marry and take care of for 67 years, John landed on Omaha Beach at 7:35 a.m. on June 6, 1944 — D-Day. He was literally among the first Allied troops to storm the beaches of Normandy. The French government awarded him the Croix de Guerre for rescuing France from the Nazis. … A dairy and grain farmer, John went on to work for Caterpillar Tractor Company for 31 years. He loved his wife, raised his kids, and made a better culture and country. For Kendra and the many Shrode children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, this will be a Memorial Day without ‘Papa John.’ John Denzil Shrode, 8th Platoon, Company C, 6th Naval Beach Battalion, died November 5, 2011. … For all of those veterans who didn’t make it to Memorial Day this year, I say thank you. You remain constants — forever with us all.” –professor Dr. Paul Kengor

The American Soldier

“[W]hat sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now — as one of the world’s noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage. I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, County; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.” –General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

Why They Fight

“I … acknowledge what I have come to feel about those who sacrifice some, or all, of their young lives to defend the rest of us. They are our ordinary citizens who have forced themselves to extraordinary service. They do not answer the call to arms lightly, but weight it against the safety and comforts of life at home. Yet they do answer. They answer because when the call does come, and they then look into their hearts, they see the delicate flame of freedom begin to flicker. … Now, well past my prime as a warrior, the warrior instinct is stirred by threats that bear down against my country and her principles. I am moved to take my place in the line that will not be crossed. But these are vain fantasies. My place in that line will be taken once again by others. For these new defenders as well, I dedicate what talents I have in honor of their service with the certain knowledge that they will continue to risk all they have and all they will ever have, to keep the delicate flame alive.” –author Jim Proser (“I’m Staying With My Boys, The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC”)

The Gipper

“I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them — not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. … The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI’s of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way. … As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation.” —Ronald Reagan

2013-05-27-brief-cartoon

Insight

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” –economist John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

Thank You

“All too often we take our freedom for granted. At times we forget that extraordinary men and women have sacrificed so much so that all of us may enjoy the freedoms we have. To all those who gave of themselves to preserve our way of lief, the American way of life, I say: thank you.” –American astronaut and retired U.S. Air Force Pilot Buzz Aldrin

The Last Word

“O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand; Between their loved homes and war’s desolation; Blessed vict’ry and peace, may the heaven rescued land; Praise the power that hath made and preserved as a nation; Then conquer we must when our cause is just; And this be our motto, In God is our Trust.” –Francis Scott Key, “The Star Spangled Banner”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis! Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

Memorial Day Is NOT on Sale

Millions of Patriots Have Already Paid the Full Price

By Mark Alexander ·      May 24, 2012

“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.” –John Adams

2012-05-24-alexander-1

Memorial Day provides a stark contrast between the best of our nation’s Patriot sons and daughters versus the worst of our nation’s civilian culture of consumption.

Amid the sparse, reverent observances of the sacrifices made by millions of American Patriots who paid the full price for Liberty, in keeping with their sacred oaths, we are inundated at every turn with the commercialization of Memorial Day by vendors who are too ignorant and/or selfish to honor this day in accordance with its purpose.

Indeed, Memorial Day has been sold out, along with Washington’s Birthday, Independence Day, Veterans, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. And it’s no wonder, as government schools no longer teach civics or any meaningful history, and courts have excluded God (officially) from the public square.

In his essay “The Contest In America,” 19th-century libertarian philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

It is that “decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling” which accounts for why so many “miserable creatures” have downgraded Memorial Day to nothing more than a date to exploit for commercial greed and avarice. While units large and small of America’s Armed Forces stand in harm’s way around the globe, many Americans are too preoccupied with beer, barbecue and baseball to pause and recognize the priceless burden borne by generations of our uniformed Patriots. Likewise, many politicos will use Memorial Day as a soapbox to feign Patriotism, while in reality they are in constant violation of their oaths to our Constitution.

2012-05-24-alexander-2That notwithstanding, there are still tens of millions of genuine American Patriots who will set aside the last Monday in May to honor all those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen who have refreshed the Tree of Liberty with their blood, indeed with their lives, so that we might remain the proud and free. My family, which humbly descends from generations of American Patriots from the American Revolution forward, will honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s fallen warriors by offering prayer in thanksgiving for the legacy of Liberty they have bequeathed to us, and by participating in respectful commemorations.

Since the opening salvos of the American Revolution, nearly 1.2 million American Patriots have died in defense of Liberty. Additionally, 1.4 million have been wounded in combat, and tens of millions more have served honorably, surviving without physical wounds. These numbers, of course, offer no reckoning of the inestimable value of their service or the sacrifices borne by their families, but we do know that the value of Liberty extended to their posterity — to us — is priceless.

Who were these brave souls?

On 12 May 1962, Gen. Douglas MacArthur addressed the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, delivering his farewell speech, “Duty, Honor and Country.” He described the legions of uniformed American Patriots as follows: “Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures — not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.”

2012-05-24-alexander-3Gen. MacArthur continued:

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.

Duty. Honor. Country — these are not for bargain sale or discount.

On Memorial Day of 1982, President Ronald Reagan offered these words in honor of Patriots interred at Arlington National Cemetery: “I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.”

2012-05-24-alexander-4President Reagan continued:

Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves.

It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. … The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery.

One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GIs of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. … I can’t claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don’t know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: “O! say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” That is what we must all ask.

2012-05-24-alexander-5Indeed, in this era when Liberty is being crushed under the weight of Democratic Socialism, Patriots must all ask that question, and act accordingly.

For the Fallen, we are certain of that which is noted on all Marine Corps Honorable Discharge orders: “Fideli Certa Merces” — to the faithful there is certain reward.

Thomas Jefferson offered this enduring advice to all generations of Patriots: “Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.”

We owe a great debt of gratitude to all those generations who have passed the Torch of Liberty to succeeding generations. In accordance, I humbly ask that each of you call upon all those around you to observe Memorial Day with reverence.

To prepare hearts and minds for Memorial Day, take a moment and read about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Join with other Patriots across the nation who will be placing flags at headstones in your local military cemetery (generally the Saturday prior to Memorial Day).

I invite you to view these tributes to our Armed Forces and to God and Country at the Patriot YouTube Channel.

2012-05-24-alexander-6In honor of American Patriots who have died in defense of our great nation, lower your flag to half-staff from sunrise to 1200 on Monday. (Read about proper flag etiquette and protocol.) Join us by observing a time of silence at 1500 (your local time), for remembrance and prayer. Offer a personal word of gratitude and comfort to any surviving family members you know who are grieving for a beloved warrior fallen in battle.

On this and every day, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces now standing in harm’s way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” –John 15:12-14

Advertisements
Categories: National Tags: