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MEMBER DIARY

Memorial Day; Thank God That Such Men Lived

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It is easy to take for granted those who dedicate their lives to protect us all. Protecting and fighting, even dying, for our freedoms, our liberties, our security. It is easy to forget because they never ask for anything from us. They just sacrifice, asking for nothing in return. So, we simply go on about our own lives, often forgetting those who serve to make those very lives possible. And those who have died to do so.

Memorial Day should be every day…we should always remember, honor and pay tribute to in our own way those whose sacrifices and dedication have made this Country the best in the World, the most Free, the Beacon of Light for the rest of the World. This Memorial Day weekend, please spend some time doing that as you enjoy the Holiday barbecues and the family gatherings made possible by those very men and women. Without them, our World would be a very different place.

Those men and women, serving here and around the World, who, at the bare minimum, gave up their young adulthoods and the innocence of that age to protect and defend their Countries.**

And those who lost their lives, cut short in their prime, whilst in the line of duty.

Thank you, all…..with sincere, unconditional, undying gratitude… words can never accurately express the true depth of my indebtedness.

** I am including the Coalition forces. With deepest, heartfelt gratitude as well.

And please read these words of Ralph Kinney Bennett. I won’t even attempt to say it better than he. I will just say a deeply heartfelt Thank You to all who have served and are serving now. My gratitude is endless.

Go and Find a Soldier’s Grave.

It shouldn’t be too hard. If you’re not near a military cemetery, just about any cemetery will do.

Look for the little American flags fluttering by the stones or the little bronze markers placed by the veterans’ organizations.

Or walk the rows and look for those stones that impart terse histories of short lives — “Killed in Action on the Island of Iwo Jima,” or “KIA Republic of Viet Nam,” or “Iraq 2003.”

I know, I know. You do plan to watch that short parade, and the ceremony at the flagpole. But then relatives are going to be over for that big cookout. There’s baseball and auto racing on TV, not to mention the “Memorial Day Mattress Event” or the “Memorial Day SUV Salesathon.”

Look, just take an hour away from all that. An hour. Go out early in the morning if you have to.

Go and find a soldier’s grave.

Put some flowers there. Or just pause and say a prayer. Nothing elaborate. “Thanks” will do.

Or just stop and think about what it means; what it really means to give your life, in its prime, for your country. Look at that name there on the stone. Think what might have been… and what was.

Some of these men and women were in uniform by choice. Some because they had no choice. Some were heroes. Some were not.

But they were there where all hell was breaking loose. They probably had no idea they were giving “the last full measure of devotion.” They just had some instant, desperate job to do. In a cockpit or a turret or a hole in the ground.

Did they grasp the “policy implications” of their presence on the high seas, in the air or on some foreign soil? Did they have time for a curse or a prayer when they saw the muzzle flashes or heard that rushing sound, or when the bomb sent the Humvee into the air?

Go and find a soldier’s grave.

You can have that hamburger and beer later, and maybe relax in the hammock and not give a thought to that one whose life span is now an incised line in stone — that one who represented you, like no Congressman could.

Go and find a soldier’s grave.

Remember what duty costs.

Then just bow your head and, as Gen. George S. Patton said, do not mourn that such men died, but thank God that such men lived.

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