“We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us" -- George Orwell
Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have died while while serving their country (not exclusively in combat). Not to be confused with Veteran's Day, which commemorates and celebrates all who have served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. Or with Armed Forces Day, recently observed, which honors those currently serving.
Break break -- Quick guide to Military holidays:
Memorial Day -- Servicemembers who *died while serving* in the Armed Forces Veterans Day -- People who served honorably in the Armed Forces (living or now dead) Armed Forces Day -- People *currently serving* in the Armed Forces
We may consider Memorial Day the start of summer with picnics, barbecues, beach trips, auto races, or town parades. But, no matter your plans, it's important to remember the true meaning of this day. It's a day dedicated to honoring those who have given their greatest gift -- their lives -- to serve, uphold and protect this great Nation.
The sacrifice is no less because it was made during a time of "peace." Because they swore the oath, endured the training and the deployments, stood the watches, manned the ramparts and presented a strong and credible deterrent, America has enjoyed many years throughout its history of relative peace, safety, prosperity and tranquility. This has not come without a price. Military service, even in peacetime, is not a safe lifestyle. To Orwell's quote, to be ready to "do violence" requires a level of training and regular deployments that is not exactly a comfy lifestyle. Rough people, ready to do violence on behalf of the rest of us, become such through a rough lifestyle and regime of risk that from time to time exacts a heavy price. To be hard, you have to train hard.
This holiday honors those who stood the watch, manned the ramparts, endured the patrol, who stood ready in the night -- and died while doing it. In combat or not, in War or not ... the sacrifice is the same.
Amidst the happiness and relaxing of the weekend, please take a moment to remember those who gave it to you. Remember those "still on patrol*." Manning the ramparts of America isn't just a corny saying. It what's they did. And its how they died. Its why you can relax this weekend and do what *you* want.
So how about this -- instead of thanking a veteran for his or her service (you can do that on November 11th ), You might take a moment to ask a veteran to tell you about a shipmate who paid that price, who died serving this country. Through his or her memories, you will meet someone special. If you can tear yourself away from your grill and adult beverages long enough to listen, I guarantee you will be all the better for it. You should thank THEM for their sacrifice by listening to their stories as told by we who served by their side.
ALL of us veterans can introduce you to these heroes. And we'd be honored to.
Semper Fi, John
The Stovebolt HQ flag today is my grandfather's casket flag. TSgt Phillip Brockway White was a combat veteran of WWII. He did not die while on active duty. But I'm sure he'd join us in honoring those who did. Today, Grampa's flag flies to honor two friends of mine who did -- Lt(jg) Jason Skubi, USN and LT Mark Hamilton, USN. Both died doing what they volunteered to do -- serve their country as Naval Aviators. Jason died one night in the North Atlantic when his helicopter's transmission failed during an Underway Replenishment operation. Mark died one night over the Eastern Pacific when his P-3 Orion collided with another P-3.
"This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn't come home. This is not Veterans Day. It's not a celebration. It is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom." –Tamra Bolton
"Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it." –Unknown "We don't know them all, but we owe them all." –Unknown "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived." –George S. Patton "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." –Lee Greenwood
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." –Ronald Reagan
*Note: "Still on Patrol" as a description of those who have given their lives serving America comes from one of the many monuments in the "Yard" -- my alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. Even though I wasn't a submariner, I have always been impressed by their service and the WWII Submarine Veterans monument to their fallen comrades has always stuck in my memory.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
Our local AMVETS/VFW post lines the roadway for a block in both directions from the post building with crosses and American flags on holiday weekends, each with the name of a deceased veteran on it. Some are service-related deaths, and others are in memory of those who survived. My father, who flew a B-17 is represented there, and also my uncle, who swam through burning oil to the Normandy beach head and was scarred for life from his neck to his waist. Both of them survived, and went on to become valuable citizens in the postwar era. Soon, a third memorial will be added, for my grandfather's younger brother who died on the beach during the invasion of Okinawa. I wonder if any of them would take pride in seeing what the nation they served so honorably has become? Jerry
"It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and eliminate all doubt!" - Abraham Lincoln Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt! There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. - Ernest Hemingway Love your enemies and drive 'em nuts!
I read this today and I thought it was worth sharing.
By Mike Pompeo
For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer. With school terms nearing their end, pools opening, community parades, and families gathering for cookouts, it can be easy to take for granted the true significance of this day: honoring our fallen heroes. The price of our freedom has been paid for by the sacrifices of so many who came before us – brave warriors who traveled far from home to give battle to America’s enemies and ultimately protect the freedom and prosperity of their families and future generations.
This Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice: those who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day to liberate Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany, or the young men who gave their lives in Korea and Vietnam to keep the evils of communism from spreading. We honor the many sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers who died fighting in the War on Terror to ensure the horrors of 9/11 were never again repeated, like the 13 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan just two years ago at the Kabul airport. And we honor the untold lives lost in special forces and intelligence missions around the globe – individuals who kept America safe without fanfare or acclaim, a remarkable sacrifice for which I gained an even greater appreciation during my time as CIA Director. Our freedom and prosperity are only possible because of the true sacrifices paid by so many.
Forty years ago, I arrived at the United States Military Academy at West Point as a cadet, joined by amazing young men and women from around the country. I then had the opportunity to serve my country in the U.S. Army, commanding a tank crew, cavalry platoon, and scout platoon. Our mission was to patrol the Iron Curtain and be ever ready for an invasion that, thankfully, never came. I am grateful for this formative experience, during which I built many deep bonds and friendships in my life.
Throughout my time at West Point and in the U.S. Army, I served with people of every faith, race, social-economic class, and creed. We were literally from all walks of life in America, but we shared something in common: a love and respect for our country, and a willingness to risk sacrificing all we had to keep it safe. Ultimately, several friends forged during those days went to Afghanistan and Iraq but did not return to see their families and friends. Today, I’m thinking of their ultimate sacrifice, praying for their families and loved ones, and cherishing their memory.
I also remember those from my home state of Kansas whom I was privileged to represent in Congress, who gave their lives fighting for America. Among those was Staff Sergeant Eric Nettleton – a young man from Wichita who died in Afghanistan just as I was being sworn in as a new Member of Congress. Eric, and too many just like him, so bravely and selflessly sacrificed everything for our nation. They will never be forgotten by my wife Susan and me.
Finally, we must remember our Gold Star families – wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and children who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty. For them, there is a hole now only partially filled by the memories of those they have lost. Every one of us should do what we can to honor them. Seek out friends and family who have lost loved ones. Offer them a kind word and a loving hand. And visit the Gold Star Families website to consider giving what you can to help. Memorial Day should be a day of unity and solidarity, and these are the better angels that unite us.
As we celebrate Memorial Day together and honor our fallen heroes, set aside time to consider what the men and women we honor died to preserve: a nation free from tyranny, defined by its commitment to freedom, and held together by its faith in our founding principles. The noble sacrifice of our soldiers to keep America safe is not just the reason we can gather for cookouts with our families this weekend – it’s why we can live in peace and freedom today and every day.
Last edited by Peggy M; Sat May 27 2023 07:48 PM.
Peggy M Make your words sweet & tender today, for tomorrow you may have to eat them. Share knowledge and communicate it effectively. ~ Elihu