It is May 2010. The current administration is yet again under a cloud of scandel, this time they’ve tried to influence the election of a member of Congress. Of course why that is different than what happened with SEIU and the Black Panthers during the election (in Pennsylvania, go figure) I’m not sure. The president is going on vacation over the Memorial Day weekend and it has been reported he will NOT be present at Arlington National Cemetery for the commemoration of the day in which Americans honor those who have given “the last great measure” .
Given these events, would anyone believe that Memorial Day is an important occasion? There are grave doubts that the majority of Americans even know what the day represents. While those in the South have been decorating the graves of their fallen countrymen since before the end of the Civil War, the rest of the country has been observing “Decoration Day” as it was initially named, since after WW1. Twelve hundred soldiers, members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry, have been placing small flags on the 260,000 plus graves at Arlington since the 1950’s. Twenty four hours a day, all weekend, these soldiers patrol the cemetery to insure all flags remain standing. These men and women understand the sacrifice because they have accepted that they too may have to extend that same sacrifice in defense of this nation.
Why is it important to remember and reverence our “Fallen Heroes”? One reason is that without them and their willingness to give their all many of us would not be living at all. Freedom may have been lost to the despot, the king, the dictator or the commisair. The Chinese with their one child only policy can attest to the foulness of the dictation of reproductive requrirements. How many of us are not the “first child” or the “only child”? Which of you parents would give up one or more of your children? In communism there is no freedom to disagree, there is only obedience or death.
A country that will not value the sacrifices of it’s defenders refuses to remember what is needed to keep liberty alive. War is a very bad thing. It is a cancer to the world and a canker to the soul. The sad fact is that until human beings can live in peace the strong must protect the weak against those who refuse to behave in a civilized fashion. Today this country has men and women serving in far flung areas of the world, confronting the enemy of freedom, liberty, integrity, honor and reason. They fight those who would kill you, your spouse, your mother, father, children , siblings all because you don’t believe the way they do. They chant “death to America” and “freedom go to hell” as they subjugate more than 60 % of their own population. They are an athema to those who died defending “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. They know nothing about freedom or liberty and they seek to make others miserable just like themselves.
We celebrate those who gave their all because if we forget we diminish the worth of their sacrifice and we trample on the attributes of courage, integrity, and sacred honor that are our legacy from these our fallen comrades. We remember because some day, maybe sooner than anyone is comfortable with we may be called upon to fight the enemy in our country, state or community. We remember because if we do remember where we have been we will have no idea of where we want to go or in fact where we don’t want to go. We remember because we stand on the sholders of those who’ve come before, who have lifted us into the future with their willingness to die for us.
So this Memorial Day sometime between the hot dog and the ‘smores or perhaps before the Prince of Persia or the ball game remember those who fell that you might stand. Remember those who came back and thank them for their service. Recommit to being the best citizen you can be, encourge our leaders to return to the principles spelled out in our Constitution and exercise your right to make meaningful change at the ballot box. This is “our” country, it is our job to take up the standard those who’ve fallen have left us and continue on, better, stronger with more resolve.
They deserve nothing less.