A solemn and sincere thank you to all who have ever worn the uniform and gave the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation. My stars and stripes are displayed from the front porch and the Revolutionary War Gadsen “Don’t tread on me” flag flutters from the flagpole in the backyard. Below are a number of quotes and videos I believe capture the spirit and meaning of this day far better than I could ever express.
We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them. ~Francis A. Walker
I Fought For You
Memorial Day 2013: “Honoring the Fallen”
NRA Life of Duty Presented by Brownells
This Memorial Day, we honor the countless heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to answer our country’s call to arms. Please take a few minutes to watch our Memorial Day Tribute featuring Norman St. Germain, Seaman First Class, USS Gambier Bay who spent 47 hours in the shark-infested waters of Leyte Gulf after his ship was sunk during WWII.
Watch Norm’s Patriot Profile Feature at: http://nralifeofduty.tv/patriot-profiles/video/norm-st-germain-the-st-of-gambier-bay
Memorial Day 2013 – Freedom Isn’t Free!
The Path of the Warrior
“We were young. We have died. Remember us. … We have done what we could But until it is finished it is not done. … We have given our lives But until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave. … Our deaths are not ours, They are yours, They will mean what you make them. They say, Whether our lives, and our deaths were for peace and a new hope Or for nothing We cannot say. It is you who must say this. … We leave you our deaths, Give them their meaning.” –Archibald MacLeish, American poet, writer and the Librarian of Congress
“Be sure this Memorial Day … you are a part of those Americans asking God to bless the heroes we remember who never really set out to be heroes. As the kin of a fallen soldier once proclaimed, ‘Each loved his life as much as we love ours. Each had a place in the world, a family waiting and friends to see again. They thought of the future just as we do, with plans and hopes for a long life. But they left it all behind when they went to war, and parted with it forever when they died so that you and I might enjoy freedom today.’ On this Memorial day set aside time from celebrating summer for you, your family and friends to honor and remember those who have given their lives for you because as Robert Orr so beautifully said, ‘To live in the hearts of those you leave behind is never to die.’ Frankly speaking, saluting their memory is our duty, and on this day, it is our privilege. The time is now to show we care and to honor their sacrifice not only this Memorial Day, but every day. Honoring our military heroes assures their memory does indeed live in our hearts and thus, these heroes will in the name of freedom never die.” –columnist Frank Jordan
“And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”
“The call to America’s roots is also a call to her foundations. The alabaster and granite headstones of our slain veterans are symbolic of the stones that are foundational to any great structure. They are what make a nation strong but more so; they exist to make a nation immovable. They are not just building blocks but they are anchors on which we depend in times of great peril or calamity. They are costly, solid, polished and usually inscribed with the names and noble acts of the donors who lay only a few feet below. Every gravestone of every soldier is a foundational cornerstone of this nation; with the name of each donor indelibly chiseled to its face. While the headstones like cornerstones stay in their place and the poppies whose seasons come and go salute the fallen; the torch is handed off to the living. It cannot be seen by the naked eye but it is the flame that burns in the hearts of all patriots who know they must not let its flames diminish for even a moment of time. Will America let this torch abate in these trying times? Will the fluctuations of our economy, politics and standing in the world make us lay down the torch? Everyone who loves America and understands what our veterans, alive and dead, have paid to show their love of our nation, already knows the answer to this question. The flame will be threatened in the strong winds of change and uncertainty and its light may flicker under the encroachment of evil forces but it will never be quenched. The living must not rest at the expense of the dead. The price of their rest is already paid but, the maintenance and perpetuity of their rest is in our hands.” –columnist Michael Bresciani
“Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays…. The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms.” ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
“[It is] altogether fitting that we have this moment to reflect on the price of freedom and those who have so willingly paid it. For however important the matters of state before us this next week, they must not disturb the solemnity of this occasion. Nor must they dilute our sense of reverence and the silent gratitude we hold for those who are buried here. 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. Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, ‘just the best darn kids in the world.’ Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn’t volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience. 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. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will ever have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice. Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem — 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: Does that flag still wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.” –President Ronald Reagan, May 31, 1982