Memorial Day and the Preservation of Freedom

For the first time I can remember, I had a lot of difficulty saying “Happy Memorial Day” yesterday.

Throughout the day on Monday and, honestly, throughout the entire weekend, I found myself thinking about the many brave men and women who have sacrificed themselves while wearing an American uniform, and about the families left behind — the children who cannot remember or perhaps never met their mother or father, the husband or wife whose heart will forever leap into their throat at every knock on the front door. I found myself thinking about how average Americans like you and like me can never, ever even come close to repaying these heroes for everything they have endured, everything they have given, everything they have sacrificed. The only thing average Americans like you and like me can do, it seems, is continue their mission.

Of course, I don’t mean that we continue it in a literal sense. We cannot literally fight our way through the hedgerows surrounding Carentan, and scanning the horizon for Japanese Zeros would obviously be pointless now. What I mean is that we should ensure that the values and ideals for which the bravest among us fought continue to be fought for in each and every way we can, and in perpetuity. It may not have occurred to the rapidly-maturing teenager climbing Hill 861 outside of Khe Sahn that he was carrying with him a nation determined to champion freedom across the globe, nor may it have seemed pertinent to the G.I. shivering in a foxhole outside Bastogne that by holding the line against the Germans, he was ensuring the preservation of freedom here at home, but as Americans who enjoy the fruits of the sacrifice made by these men, these women and their families, it is our duty to uphold those values, fight for those principles, and honor those brave souls by never forgetting that they were, and continue to be, a timeless reminder of the greatness of the United States of America.

When it comes to the safety of our men and women abroad, as well as the security of those of us at home, decisions need to be made because they are good and because they are right, not because they are politically expedient or politically correct. War should be treated as such; the same goes for adversaries. Policy should be driven by that which is required by and for success, not merely by the desire to satisfy one group or another. Members of our military should be heralded as heroes, not prosecuted as criminals, or dismissed as intellectually inferior.

So far as I know, my family has been fortunate as to never have lost someone on the battlefield. My late uncle was a tunnel rat in Vietnam, written up in Stars and Stripes for having discovered a pair of Viet Cong waiting in an underground chimney-type structure to surprise American troops above, and then having dispatched them with his shovel after his weapon jammed. He died a few years ago, a wonderful man who returned home not quite the same as he had left. His father, my grandfather, was a flight instructor. He taught pilots to fly B-17 bombers in advance of World War II, but never flew in the war itself. He passed on about ten years ago, and is sorely missed.

My uncle and grandfather survived their service, but so many people have friends and family members who did not. Still more have seen others make that ultimate sacrifice firsthand. At the very least, we as Americans owe those brave Americans the assurance that every decision we make shall be founded in those very ideals, values and principles for which they fought and died. Every decision, from the new legislation which intrudes upon American freedoms at home, to the foreign policy doctrine that stifles the growth of freedom overseas, with no exceptions.

For example, when weighing our options with regard to North Korea, which just this weekend tested a nuclear bomb and assorted delivery mechanisms, we should look at not only how we can ensure the continued safety, security and freedom of the American people in the States, but also how we can preserve the freedom for which we’ve spilled blood on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere in the Pacific theater. Or, when we weigh economic policy and further action here at home, we should consider how the expansion of the scope of the federal government infringes upon the freedoms of those very American families which have provided our nation with the heroes depended upon by the rest of the world.

Americans have fought and died to push back enemy lines, to hold a position, to liberate a country or to rescue a single individual, to bring freedom to the doors of those who have never tasted it, and in response to attacks on our own. As another Memorial Day has come and gone, as flags are pulled from so many yards and flower pots across this great land and replaced in the garage or shed until Flag Day, or Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day, let us never forget that those among us who were brave enough to run toward gunfire and danger rather than retreat from it, those of us who died in the service of this great nation, have done so that we can live our lives in freedom. Let us take our own stand, and preserve that freedom at all costs.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jeff,

    “Memorial Day weekend – American Grand Jury hands down latest indictment against Obama”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mAGfunfpNU

    It looks like we might finally see discovery take place in a court of law. The presentments are piling up and will be impossible to ignore forever.

  2. Pat in NC says:

    It is refreshing to see a post after the day has passed that so clearly states the need for continued remembrance and gratitude to those who have served our nation so well. Too often we give momentary lip service to the sacrifices made by others and then simply move on without a glance back or continuing awareness of the great gift our freedom is.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What upset me the most about yesterday’s remembrance of our brave ones was the “use” of them but without their best interests at heart. IOW, while they are still offering their lives for our freedoms, they have a POTUS who mocks their ideals by dismantling what they fight for right out in the open. How much will the military take?? How much will commanders be willing to salute and follow policies that endanger their troops in the most dangerous parts of our world today? In some ways they almost appear surrounded and with a man over them who doesn’t take his duty to defend and protect us with any seriousness.

  4. Rix says:

    Thank you for yet another great, inspiring article, Jeff.

    It is hard not to notice, and even harder to admit, that large groups of Americans has grown with zero loyalty and allegiance to the country except for the checks it sends them. These groups are so hooked upon their entitlements that the country might not survive the detox – but we must try regardless. It is time to recall that “live free or die trying” is not just a bumper sticker.

  5. Claudia says:

    I revere this nation, always have and always will, but this year for Memorial Day, I have had this overwhelming feeling that this may be the last time we will be able to OPENLY HONOR and substantiate the value that all those MILLION + men and women did and gave for the freedom of this Nation and for other people all around the globe in that same name of Freedom.

    I fear that this is/maybe the last time it will be politically accepted and timely to show gratitude to our SOLDIERS. We are now under a new regime that wants to become a dictatorship and therefore will do its best to instill a change of what it takes to be honored by and of the Military, and Obama is going to try to make that change one of his next items to cleanse our nation and give it back to those who really own it, as Rix said above, the ones who receive the highest entitlements from the welfare state….. those who never honored this Country to begin with and who have absolutely no intention of honoring any of the people who gave their lives so that others could be free…. it is a fearsome thing that I have been having weighed down on my shoulders all this whole weekend.

    I hope that it does NOT come to pass and that I am worrying needlessly. This is why I have not posted on the subject except for the item that I put about the graves in Europe. I so honestly feel this huge weight and I fear it is coming in through the back door and no one is seeing it. After all, Obama is about the destruction of all things that Americans (white Americans) and will do any/everything he can to undermine all that is great about our Country…..

    UPDATE>>>> UPDATE, the Calif Supreme Court upheld the decision BANNING OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES IN CALIF…..

  6. suek says:

    >>UPDATE>>>> UPDATE, the Calif Supreme Court upheld the decision BANNING OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES IN CALIF…..>>

    But allowed the marriages already performed to remain legal, which probably lays the groundwork for new suits, appeals etc. and revisiting the issue at a later time.

    I wonder if anyone will be keeping track of the divorces…

  7. suek says:

    Claudia…

    Here’s a tale worth passing on: (very long, but worth the time)

    http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/05/only-those-who-are-willing-to-die-are.html

  8. goddessdivine says:

    Great post. Gosh, if only our powers that be would read this! (Or the Constitution for that matter….)

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