Tag Archives: Memorial Day

Over a million Americans have given their lives in defending U.S. interests in conflicts large and small

While remembering those people is a central purpose of this holiday, Memorial Day takes on its deepest meaning when we connect it with our roots.  Americans were unique in sacrificing their treasure and giving their lives to found the first country in history establishing that all people have natural rights that come from God rather than from rulers or government.  The Declaration of Independence affirmed the equality of all people and that they are endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Thus, when Americans sacrificed their lives in military service, it was not just to defend the United States, but it was also to uphold the natural rights and spiritual values associated with the nation’s founding that provide inspiration for others worldwide.

There were times and places in human history when there were nation-states of cultural achievement, virtue, and efflorescence, such as in Periclean Athens, in the Florence of the Medicis, and in England of Elizabeth and Shakespeare.  But none was founded the way America was – that is, by a collection of individuals of human genius who prayerfully approached drafting a constitution that would mitigate corruption and abuse of power while also protecting the citizens’ unalienable God-given rights and enabling them to rise to levels closer to the divine image in which all were created than they would have under any government previously conceived.

Yet another significant part of celebrating Memorial Day is associated with the example set by Americans in how they treated their vanquished foes.

The respect that General MacArthur and the occupying American forces displayed after Japan’s surrender surprised and won over many of the people, who assumed that the victorious Americans would execute their beloved emperor and plunder them and treat them in ways similar to what Japanese soldiers did to those they had conquered in East and Southeast Asia.  The courtesy and respect shown by the Americans helped mollify resistance to the occupation’s policies that forced fundamental change on the country – rewriting the constitution and laws; land reform; and the reorganization of business ownership to provide more competition, fairness, and opportunity.

In Europe after armistice, the war-indebted United States launched the Marshall Plan that gave some $125 billion in current dollar value in economic support to help reconstruct war-devastated regions in Western Europe.  Major initiatives included rebuilding industry – even giving the Europeans a leg up on the U.S. with the building of state-of-the-art factories and facilities that were in many cases more efficient than what then existed in the U.S.

In sum, Memorial Day means more than remembering those who died in military service to the country.  It means connecting with a heritage that began with a courageous and faithful group of founders, who risked their lives for the birth of freedom and the establishment of America as a “shining city on a hill.”  It also means remembering all who subsequently died for their nation, and especially “the greatest generation,” who – after forfeiting so many lives to assure victory for the Allied nations in World War II – then sacrificed more to rebuild and preserve the independence of its former enemies.

 

[From an article by Scott S. Powell, published by AMERICAN THINKER]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

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What to do if you’re bored and inside on a day like today…

What to do if you’re bored and inside on a day like today?  PRACTICE, of course!  These guys have obviously been practicing a LOT!

 

 

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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“If we really care about peace, we must stay strong.” (President Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day, 1986)

Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the family and remember.

I was thinking this morning that across the country children and their parents will be going to the town parade and the young ones will sit on the sidewalks and wave their flags as the band goes by. Later, maybe, they’ll have a cookout or a day at the beach. And that’s good, because today is a day to be with the family and to remember.

Arlington, this place of so many memories, is a fitting place for some remembering. So many wonderful men and women rest here, men and women who led colorful, vivid, and passionate lives. There are the greats of the military: Bull Halsey and the Admirals Leahy, father and son; Black Jack Pershing; and the GI’s general, Omar Bradley. Great men all, military men. But there are others here known for other things.

Here in Arlington rests a sharecropper’s son who became a hero to a lonely people. Joe Louis came from nowhere, but he knew how to fight. And he galvanized a nation in the days after Pearl Harbor when he put on the uniform of his country and said, “I know we’ll win because we’re on God’s side.” Audie Murphy is here, Audie Murphy of the wild, wild courage. For what else would you call it when a man bounds to the top of a disabled tank, stops an enemy advance, saves lives, and rallies his men, and all of it singlehandedly. When he radioed for artillery support and was asked how close the enemy was to his position, he said, “Wait a minute and I’ll let you speak to them.” [Laughter]

Michael Smith is here, and Dick Scobee, both of the space shuttle Challenger. Their courage wasn’t wild, but thoughtful, the mature and measured courage of career professionals who took prudent risks for great reward — in their case, to advance the sum total of knowledge in the world. They’re only the latest to rest here; they join other great explorers with names like Grissom and Chaffee.

Oliver Wendell Holmes is here, the great jurist and fighter for the right. A poet searching for an image of true majesty could not rest until he seized on “Holmes dissenting in a sordid age.” Young Holmes served in the Civil War. He might have been thinking of the crosses and stars of Arlington when he wrote: “At the grave of a hero we end, not with sorrow at the inevitable loss, but with the contagion of his courage; and with a kind of desperate joy we go back to the fight.”

All of these men were different, but they shared this in common: They loved America very much. There was nothing they wouldn’t do for her. And they loved with the sureness of the young. It’s hard not to think of the young in a place like this, for it’s the young who do the fighting and dying when a peace fails and a war begins. Not far from here is the statue of the three servicemen — the three fighting boys of Vietnam. It, too, has majesty and more. Perhaps you’ve seen it — three rough boys walking together, looking ahead with a steady gaze. There’s something wounded about them, a kind of resigned toughness. But there’s an unexpected tenderness, too. At first you don’t really notice, but then you see it. The three are touching each other, as if they’re supporting each other, helping each other on.

I know that many veterans of Vietnam will gather today, some of them perhaps by the wall. And they’re still helping each other on. They were quite a group, the boys of Vietnam — boys who fought a terrible and vicious war without enough support from home, boys who were dodging bullets while we debated the efficacy of the battle. It was often our poor who fought in that war; it was the unpampered boys of the working class who picked up the rifles and went on the march. They learned not to rely on us; they learned to rely on each other. And they were special in another way: They chose to be faithful. They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time. They chose to believe and answer the call of duty. They had the wild, wild courage of youth. They seized certainty from the heart of an ambivalent age; they stood for something.

And we owe them something, those boys. We owe them first a promise: That just as they did not forget their missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are other promises. We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.

That, of course, is the lesson of this century, a lesson learned in the Sudetenland, in Poland, in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, in Cambodia. If we really care about peace, we must stay strong. If we really care about peace, we must, through our strength, demonstrate our unwillingness to accept an ending of the peace. We must be strong enough to create peace where it does not exist and strong enough to protect it where it does. That’s the lesson of this century and, I think, of this day. And that’s all I wanted to say. The rest of my contribution is to leave this great place to its peace, a peace it has earned.

[An address by President Ronald Reagan at Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day, 1986]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment (and today, for your remembrance) by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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