When considering something as profound and noble as sacrifice on the field of battle, I was very pleased to find some familiar quotations from Edmund Burke. He lived from 1729 to 1797, was born Irish, served in the British parliament, was a supporter of the colonists in the American revolution, and is considered to be a philosophical founder of modern conservative thinking. He had a number of important things to say about tyranny, liberty, freedom and conflict. Although he said these things more than 200 years ago, they are just as pertinent today. Here are a few that I think relate to our men and women serving (and who have served) in the armed forces.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
I want to say a most heartfelt thank you for your service – and I try to personally thank any service person I see in uniform or with a cap or other designation showing they have served. America needs to remember that those serving today and for the past 20-30 years were not drafted but signed up voluntarily to serve and protect the United States of America. We need to be grateful not only to our service men and women but to their families who are also making sacrifices to support our troops. Separations during deployments are hard on everyone.
My husband was in the Army, my brother in the Air Force, my son served 22 years in the Army and my youngest daughter was in the Navy. I have always thanked each of them on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day for helping to make our country the safe place we all enjoy every day!!
Each night I say a prayer to keep our troops safe and help them to know how much they are appreciated!!
Thanks for what you do for us. My late father was one of seven brothers, all of whom enlisted in WWII. I have a treasured photo of him with three brothers in 1943 in Boston, 3 of them in uniform. It was a much different world then for the military. The country was united then. Simpler times, but rougher, too. Just thinking of of hiking 10 miles with some of that gear makes a lot of body parts hurt.
I remember him telling me that he had nightmares for more than two years after returning. He saw the results of an ammo dump explosion in France, and had a hard time getting over it. They didn’t know about PTSD back then, it was “tough it out” and that’s what they did.
But it did mold him in ways that I can’t explain. As your time overseas will mold you….people you work with will become your lifetime friends. And people like me, who never saw foreign battle, won’t understand. I admit that. The family members from back then say that he came back changed. For the better? I saw the better parts. He was proud of every minute he spent in the great war, even the tough ones.
A treasured gift in my home is my father’s WWII Eisenhower jacket, complete with the WWII Victory Patch sewn on it. It’s a tiny thing, in darn near perfect condition. It’s hard to understand now, but please, think about saving a few things like that for your children and grandchildren….even if you don’t have any yet. It gives life to the stories, and your great sacrifice. And tomorrow’s kids need to know that good people endured great hardship to make their lives better. To today’s kids, WWII is something in the history books and little more. Please help the next generation understand that your sacrifice was worth it, and not the stuff they see on their Playstation. We honor those who fought before us to bring their stories to life.
Your courage & sacrifice are the foundation that provides our freedoms! I want to say thank you to you and your families for your service. Please know that you are recognized and appreciated. My prayers are for safety and abundant blessings for you and yours.
(Deuteronomy 31:6) Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
How Can We Best Honor Their Memory on Memorial Day
I believe we veterans are a living tribute and have a solemn duty to bestow honor upon the memory of our fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters who gave the full measure of devotion in defense of our country and in defense of each other.
As I get older, the depths of my feelings and emotions mature while I seemingly become less wise. Everything, and not just physically, was somehow easier when I was younger. I no longer have all the answers I enjoyed with my youthful wisdom.
I am not sure how best to honor those who died: for me, for my brothers-in-arms, for my family, for my future and for my freedoms.
One of the happiest days of my life was when I married my true love at West Point on Memorial Day, May 30th, 1970. So, when someone wishes me a “Happy Memorial Day.” I can beam with the happiest thoughts and reflections of that wonderful day. However, having departed for Vietnam the day after I returned from my honeymoon, the happy thoughts are as quickly departed and replaced with the evocative memories of my fallen heroes.
As I do every Memorial Day, I will return from marching with my local VFW in its annual Memorial Day Parade filled with high school marching bands, boys & girls scouts/soccer teams and hundreds of volunteer firemen. For all our parades, the veterans are always invited to lead the parade, even in front of the politicians. The small crowds lining the streets always clap the loudest for the veterans. I know they will soon dissipate to enjoy cook-outs with family & friends in this beautiful weather. I, myself, am looking forward to my own family being with us for a bar-b-que.
So, to the question of how best can we honor Their Memory on Memorial Day.
There is a phrase in the bible: “Who will honor him who does not honor himself?” As living tributes, I believe we must act honorably to honor the memories of our fallen. I believe we honor the memory when we accept honor. Allow the citizens to honor us in any way they choose, whether it be clapping when we pass in review, placing us on a dais, bestowing upon us proclamations or certificates or simply being the recipients of a “Thank You!” I think it is our solemn duty to demand honor. We are the voices of the deceased; we are the reminders of the deceased; we are the living tributes of the deceased. It is our duty to rekindle patriotic fervor in the beating hearts of our country-folk, to remind them by our honorable presence of the supreme sacrifices of our fallen heroes. I truly believe we are the living medals earned by our fallen heroes.
I believe our country deserves to be happy and free, because that happiness and freedom was bought with the blood of our fallen heroes. I think our fallen heroes would appreciate that our country is happy and free and would gladly accept that as a wonderful tribute to their sacrifice. So, I personally am not disturbed to note that our people wish each other a Happy Memorial Day and celebrate the onset of summer.
I am also thankful. I am thankful that I once was young and soared with eagles. In my youth I did not adequately appreciate the full measure of the men with whom I served. Never again would I be in the company of men who would routinely offer up their own lives to spare mine; never again would I share unqualified trust and know that I was equally trusted. The respect, admiration, honor and love for these men with whom I served grows with each passing Memorial Day. I am thankful and prideful for all who served.
On Memorial Day I also salute the Gold Star Families and promise to honor them with my own living tribute.
God bless all veterans!
Gary D. (I had the profound pleasure, honor and tremendous fortune of serving as Platoon Leader to the heroic men of 2nd Platoon, Charlie Rangers from Aug’70 thru May’71. I completed my tour as a Captain with its Headquarters element, the 17th Aviation Group, Tuy Hoa.)
Recently, after years of taking care of themselves and their three children, my elderly parents made the choice to move into an assisted living facility. In that facility, I noticed that there is a Wall of Honor, dedicated to those men and women who are residents and served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The photos of these proud people, both in uniform and not, reflect generations who knew hardship, sacrifice and pride. I look at the wall when I am there and it takes my breath away to be in the presence of such amazing people. They are what is right in this world, both now and in times past.
For several years, I worked as a contractor to the U.S. Army. During this time I had the honor of meeting and getting to know many men and women serving in the ongoing wars in which the U.S. is engaged from all branches of the military. Many people refer to the World War II generation of service members as the “greatest generation,” a title rightfully earned. However, as I had the privilege of meeting today’s soldiers, airmen and sailors, I firmly believe we need to realize, understand and appreciate those who volunteer today to serve, protect and defend the U.S. and democracy around the world. These young men and women are just as dedicated, valiant and understated as those that came before them. I know that 70 years from now, these same people will have sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and young friends who will be walking into a place that has a Wall of Honor and will realize that, once again, this is what is right in this world.
To those who have endured or are facing the hardships, separations and dangers of being deployed to a war zone, I can only say a very humble “thank you.”
I’m happy to report that the Words For Warriors Project is underway in earnest. I have gotten some great submissions from a wide variety of people who wanted to express their support for our military men and women. There are now submissions from a great-grandmother, a teenager, a ten year old, a veteran, a newly minted American citizen, a couple of attorneys, a retired toolmaker and a worker in a nail shop. It’s gratifying to see such a lovely array of participants.
I am starting to reach out into the larger community. I have composed a letter explaining the Words For Warriors Project which I will send to local churches to see if there are members of their congregations who might like to participate. Those letters will be going out tomorrow.
I have a couple of meetings set up this month, one with a veteran’s group at a large manufacturing plant and one with a single veteran who may have advice/suggestions for connecting with more people and for places for distribution once I have enough submissions to bind.
If you’ve already made a submission, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you haven’t, won’t you please take 15 minutes, jot a note and send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org? As always, I appreciate your help spreading the word. The more submissions we get, the better!
Remember a simple kind word can be a very powerful thing!
To all of you guys and gals who served in our armed forces,
Thank you for all that you did on our behalf and what you gave for the well being of our country!
As an Ole Guy now, I was one of you, 65 years ago. I served in the Navy on a “Tin Can” (Destroyer) during our conflict with North Korea. Our main assignment was anti-submarine duty….we escorted “capital ships” (mostly aircraft carriers for security). Secondarily, we were deployed to patrol Wonson Harbor (North Korea), communicating with Navy, Marine and Air Force pilots that were injured or had damaged aircraft over North Korea. We advised them of our position and directed them to head for the ocean where we would pick them up thereby helping them avoid capture which was a strong possibility if they went down in North Korea. We took a couple of hits during this action but sailed on (trying to avoid deadly floating mines).
I hope that you young guardians of America know how much your present endeavors are appreciated and wish you the best.
As a warrior you are someone who accepted the responsibility to fight for those who could not. In many instances it may feel that what you did was unnecessary or unappreciated, but here in the States there are a lot of people who depend on what you did to protect them, their property and ultimately their way of life. We are free to go to the gym, have dinner with our friends and or families, pursue our careers and even go to the shopping mall because you are did the heavy lifting for us.
While there are those who do not say so, it may come as a pleasant surprise to you that many of us do. Your service is in our conversation at lunch, our thoughts while we are driving, and the emails we send to each other expressing our appreciation for all that you do. While you are not privy to these conversations please be assured that you are in them often.
You are brave. You are my heroes. I’ve never been concerned with politics, because I LIVE IN AMERICA! America has changed. America needs more people like you. Our country is no longer as free, but I thank God that it is still the home of some that are brave. As long as there are brave men and women willing to stand up for what they believe in, this country may stand a chance. I have started to voice my opinion. I may be able to support our country, by fighting for our liberties, after all. You have enlightened me. Thanks for all you do and for showing me the way.