Memorial Day 2012…

When I hear pandering politicians speak about the “sacrifices” of our military I’m always a little skeptical. I look at their records and in many cases those records don’t add up to the placating of the moment. Such is the case every Memorial Day. However I will leave that out there for now and instead take the high road today. I want to focus on what is important, the men and women of The United States Military and their families who have so selflessly put the needs of a nation and her posterity ahead of their own. Sadly, many have engaged in the struggle only to return in a flag draped coffin.

John 15:13

King James Version (KJV)

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I look to the photographs of the young ones who stand graveside at events that are sure to weaken the sturdiest of knees and dampen the driest of eyes. For you know, despite their age and the difficulty of conveying such adult matters to a child, that lost parent had explained to them the nature of the business and what might be expected. It is assumed therefore, that incredible feeling of sadness and loss will somehow always have a different meaning for that child. Sacrifice and honor are words they will hear and utter time and again when they consider that very special person in their lives.

Still, I am left with a nagging feeling when I see one of those pictures. I guess it’s because I interact and with so many people on so many levels every day. I wonder if (some) Americans will ever truly understand what “ultimate sacrifice” means or what it represents to all of us. Sadly, that understanding can only come by way of education, historical education. Not the ideological kind that highlights only America’s faults and failings, but rather that which recognizes the indisputable influence of a young nation having changed the world for the better and given up so much of her own blood to do so. And also the kind of historical perspective that acknowledges first and foremost how those lost souls saw their participation as part of the greater good and not a means to keep a tyrannical government from executing their families back home. These are things political leaders and teachers in our schools should be putting in context for young people every time they have an opportunity, reminding them of the blessing that is their country. Regrettably, thankfulness and appreciation for the efforts of those who have gone to guarantee that blessing, have been replaced by learned selfishness and entitlement rooted in some perceived and convoluted “fairness doctrine”.

Personally, I look at every Memorial Day and think of some of my friends who have made that “sacrifice” and I remember their motives. I think of my late father and of my nephew who understood freedom and what might be necessary to preserve it, and they went anyway. And then I listen to those fools trying to re-write that which does not suit their ideological frame-work, as well as the next generation whom they’ve robbed of the truth and wisdom needed to properly defend freedom, and I wonder if the soldier under that flag has died for nothing.

Reconciliation comes when I realize they died for an ideal and a principle. Ironically, it’s not necessarily the country they were defending, but rather what it represents to the rest of the world. So I say to that child who stands graveside in the face of unimaginable sorrow and loss, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are in my thoughts and prayers and those of my family every day of our lives. Your dad or mom died defending the greatest gift ever bestowed upon human kind by a loving God, freedom. May that thought give you some measure of comfort all of your days…

Please take a knee today and think about where you live. Put aside your political persuasion for just a moment and remember that for all of its little idiosyncrasies, the United States of America is and remains the greatest arrangement for mankind under God. You are limited only by what is truly in your heart. Do not begrudge your fellow citizens or take your freedom for granted and damn it, never forget those who go in your stead to defend it.

God bless the United States Military service people and their families on this Memorial Day, and every day!

Now this is more like it – 

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