Morning Bell: Happy Memorial Day

Morning Bell: Happy Memorial Day

Posted By Conn Carroll On May 31, 2010 @ 9:00 am In First Principles, Protect America | 16 Comments

In honor of those who lost their lives while serving our country, we would like to share with you President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day remarks [1] at Arlington National Cemetery:

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 single-handedly. 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.

Thank all of you, and God bless you, and have a day full of memories.

Special Memorial Day Message From Governor Brewer

  Special Memorial Day Message From Governor Brewer

Today, each of us should take time to remember that every minute of every hour of every day we live in a free nation.

It is a freedom protected by the service of men and women in uniform, standing in foreign lands, isolated posts, always standing against the forces of fear and tyranny.

Because it is a privilege to express our gratitude to those whose sacrifices serve as constant reminders of the high price of liberty; as Governor of Arizona, I have proclaimed this day — May 31st, 2010 — “Arizona Memorial Day.”

We remember and honor all those courageous men and women of our armed forces who have risked and lost their lives to protect America’s interests, to defend our freedom, to preserve our values, and to advance the ideals of democracy. 

I have directed that in respect and recognition of these courageous men and women, all veterans of the United States Military Services, state and local government officials, educators, students, historians, and all patriotic citizens of this great state and nation are encouraged to observe Memorial Day, May 31, 2010 with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

God bless you and your families, God bless the memory of our fallen heroes, and may God bless Arizona and the United States of America.

 

Sarah Palin: Memorial Day, to Remember Past and Present Sacrifice

Sarah Palin: Memorial Day, to Remember Past and Present Sacrifice

Memorial Day, to Remember Past and Present Sacrifice
 Yesterday at 8:22am
“Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
General Orders No.11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters, May 5, 1868

This weekend, as we enjoy time with family and friends, we should stop and remember the meaning of this national holiday. Memorial Day is a uniquely American holiday that finds its origins in the aftermath of our Civil War, when our country searched for a proper way to commemorate the many who had fallen in the long struggle to end slavery and unify our nation.

Today, we remember all of those throughout our history and to this very day who gave their lives serving our country in uniform. Our prayers are especially with the surviving family members for whom everyday is memorial day, as they live on remembering their loved ones who died selflessly to protect the freedoms we hold dear.

And on Memorial Day, let us also remember all veterans, past and present, because everyone who wears the uniform and swears the oath is willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for America. So, in honoring them let’s keep in mind this version of a popular poem as we show respect for those willing to sacrifice all for our exceptional country:

“It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin will be draped by the flag.”

- Sarah Palin

(Enjoy this version of the poem recited by Fred Thompson.)

What is Memorial Day?

What is Memorial Day?

Posted By Paul Vallely On May 31, 2010 @ 12:14 am In FrontPage | 4 Comments

Memorial Day is a great and wonderful way to remember our patriotic heroes who sacrificed their lives to help us breathe the air of freedom. This day is observed with families and friends visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay homage to their loved and forgotten ones.

“Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. This date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The alternative name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington’s Birthday, now celebrated as Presidents’ Day; Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.

Red Poppies are a tradition inspired by a poem in 1915, “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country. I tear at the sound of “Taps” played at ceremonies on Memorial Day. “We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” –Francis A. Walker.

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote.

I will tear up as well. We will be with our son, Scott, at his gravesite in Bigfork, Montana in memory of his service to our country.

Have a fun, safe, and memorable Memorial Day.

God Bless America and our great United States.

The Last Full Measure of Devotion

The Last Full Measure of Devotion

Posted By Rich Trzupek On May 31, 2010 @ 12:31 am In FrontPage | 2 Comments

 

While official observance of Memorial Day – then Decoration Day – began in 1868, the seeds of our national day of remembrance were planted five years earlier, in a small Pennsylvania college town during the fall of 1863 when a backwoods lawyer struggled to define the nature of sacrifice and dedication, utilizing a little over 250 hastily-chosen, but carefully-crafted, words to make his point. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address became the gold standard by which all tributes to fallen heroes and the causes for which they fight are judged. Nearly a century and a half later, no one has more clearly defined the character of this nation, or of the valiant warriors who risk everything in the defense of that vague ideal we call liberty, than the sixteenth president of the United States did on that distant day.

In the course of two minutes – a speech so brief that a photograph of the event could not be recorded for posterity with the cumbersome equipment in use at the time – Lincoln both clarified America’s mission and advanced a theorem describing our character, eloquently summarizing the ideals of a young nation that was then not yet a century old and defining the principles that would guide it guide it for a century more to come. Eighty-five powerful words formed the crescendo of that speech; eighty-five words that once resonated in the soul of virtually every American, but which now serve to define the deep divisions emblematic of the ongoing conflict for our nation’s soul:

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…”

Actions, Lincoln said, speak far louder than words. What ultimately mattered is “what they did here.” Their work – their bloody work – was “nobly advanced” and in doing so “they gave the last full measure of devotion…” The vast majority of Americans in 1863 instinctively understood these tenets, just as they did in 1776 and the as they would in 1963. For almost two centuries the nobility, the devotion and the selflessness of those who defended America and who protected liberty was never a matter of debate, except in the most extreme and obscure, dusty corners of American thought. At Gettysburg, Lincoln brought this part of our national character into its sharpest focus.

But what of the rest of us: the civilians who form the preponderance of any populace? What of those of us who are protected by the noble few standing ready to give their last full measure of devotion? How might we honor these brave defenders of liberty?

Lincoln was the consummate American president, a principled pragmatist. In answering that question, Lincoln recognized both the need to defend representative government and the powerful forces aligned in opposition to doing so. The simple message that he delivered at Gettysburg powerfully reinforced the former and skillfully undermined the latter. Americans, he declared, are not so foolish as to risk – and ultimately give – the “last full measure of devotion” for anything less than a cause worth that ultimate sacrifice. If such sacrifices were to have meaning, then the public has an obligation not just to honor the causes that cost these heroes their lives, but to increase their own devotion to such causes. Anything less would dishonor those we had lost, tantamount to declaring that their sacrifices had been in vain.

For nearly two hundred years, no American would claim that anyone who fell in combat defending our nation had died in vain, much less to even suggest that doing so was anything less than honorable. Then came the dreadful decade of the 1960s, and all that went with it: disillusionment, self-doubt and despair. In military and geo-political terms, America was no longer the underdog, as we had been since the nation was founded. Liberals, who had previously not only supported our military efforts around the world, but who had in fact been responsible for getting us into most of our conflicts for idealistic (and honorable) reasons, soured on the idea that America could protect the downtrodden and spread liberty about the globe. After spending two centuries supporting America’s efforts to defend the notion of freedom against powerful would-be oppressors, the left took one look at the war in Viet Nam and concluded that we were no longer the underdog, upstart nation that King George, Santa Ana, the Kaiser and Hitler had sneered at. We were now the dominant power on the globe and, it followed, we must therefore now be an oppressor ourselves. And, if that point needed to be reinforced, there was also this: our sworn enemy – the only other super-power on earth – was a nation that had embraced the liberal dream of replacing capitalism with statism. For the left, by fighting in Viet Nam, not only was America flexing its newly-found muscle as bullies always do, we were putting the collectivist, socialist ideal in grave danger.

And so, what had been unconscionable in 1960 became common-place, and in some quarters fashionable, by 1970: the devotion and selflessness of those who served our nation in combat wasn’t merely questioned. We zoomed past self-doubt into something far more insidious. The combatants themselves were ridiculed, mocked and insulted. America abandoned honor in the sixties, and with it, lost her soul. The ideal that Lincoln had so eloquently expressed, that of taking increased devotion to a cause for which heroes had made the ultimate sacrifice, was replaced in liberal quarters by the notion that the warriors serving such a cause were as foul as the cause supposedly was itself.

Today, the left has backed off of that ugly mindset somewhat, but only somewhat. As our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to fight fundamentalist, fascist extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan, this latest generation of noble American warriors have been transformed in progressive eyes from dangerous co-conspirators to unwitting dupes. To the left, those serving in the armed forces are merely that segment of our society that could not find a better job flipping burgers. The notion that these brave Americans might actually believe in their mission never occurs to the average liberal. Accordingly, no “increased devotion” is necessary on their part. There is only an exit strategy to pursue.

Here on the right, we see the valor of our troops in entirely different terms. Their devotion means that we must rededicate ourselves to ensuring the success of their mission. Their sacrifices require that we ensure those sacrifices are not in vain. Their courage demands our commitment. For, on this day, and every Memorial Day, there is only one reason that Americans willingly place themselves in harm’s way on distant shores: that we “shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Nothing less will – or should – do.

Memorial Day Salute

Memorial Day Salute

By Doug Powers  •  May 31, 2010 08:11 AM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

The word “sacrifice” is often used in a wildly exaggerated fashion (for some of us, it’s a “sacrifice” to lose cable for a day), but those who make very real and sometimes ultimate sacrifices are some of the reasons that the rest of us are in the enviable position of being able to consider something as trivial as losing cable to be a sacrifice.

Most of us have been touched in some way by the loss of these heroes — be they family or friends. Among them, for my family, is my cousin, Steve, who was killed in Vietnam.

There was a nice write-up in the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal yesterday about him that I wanted to share. Here’s just a snippet:

Sometimes in life, you get lucky enough to have a friend who makes all the difference. For Bob DiBlase of Haslett, that person was Steven Powers.

Growing up in Lansing, Bob admits he was heading down the wrong path. He was a kid with a chip on his shoulder who liked to brawl. Before school sometimes, he’d stop off on a well-known corner downtown and pick a fight with whoever was hanging out. That’s where Steven found him one day – all bloodied and scruffy.

They sort of knew each other already. Steven went to school with Bob’s older brother at Everett High School. “He grabbed me and said, ‘I’m taking you to a dance tonight. But you can’t go looking like that,’ ” Bob says.

So Steven took him to Holden-Reid, bought him some penny loafers and a button-down shirt and took him to the dance. The friendship took; Bob didn’t fight anymore after that.

“He was laid back and easy-going,” says Bob. “The girls drooled over him. We all turned into the ‘Beach Boys’ type. We were just having fun.”
***
Which is why it shocked the hell out of his friends when Steven enlisted in the Marines after high school. It was 1966. Everyone knew what was happening in Vietnam. But Steven was determined to go.

He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion of the 9th Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division. Public records don’t indicate when his tour started, but on May 14, 1967, he was wounded and received the Purple Heart.

He came home, healed up and was sent back to Vietnam. A few weeks later, he was killed.

The rest of the article is here. An interactive Vietnam Wall is here.

A very special thank-you as well to all those who are currently serving or have served so that we may remain free. From my family, that includes my father, an Air Force veteran; my uncle Steve, a retired Air Force Colonel, pilot and Vietnam veteran; and another cousin, Mike, who is a 1990 Air Force Academy grad who has served in the Middle East, Africa and Japan, among other places, and is still on active duty.

Freedom is a little like oxygen — it can be easy to take for granted until you start to lose it. A society that waits until it’s gasping and turning blue to realize that can’t remain free for long, so Memorial Day is an opportunity to take a deep breath and appreciate the fresh air we enjoy, thank these heroes, and to pledge to see to it that their sacrifices were not in vain. This is a valuable service that even those of us who never served can provide, and it’s the least we can do.

Today is the day we “officially” remember and thank all those who have given their lives in our country’s service, but, as Ted Nugent wrote in the Washington Times, we should strive to make every day Memorial Day.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

When Masculine Virtues Go Out of Fashion

When Masculine Virtues Go Out of Fashion

By Tom Hoffman

The culture war begun in the sixties has, in large part, been won by the left. Nowhere is this clearer than in the feminization of men. The virtues of manhood which had been extolled and celebrated throughout the middle ages right up to the 1950s have been completely expunged from academia and pop culture. The baby boom generation was the last to be taught the values of rugged individualism, risk-taking, courage, bravery, loyalty, and reverence for tradition. John Wayne epitomized the rugged individual who was committed to fighting “the bad guy,” but he was only one of a whole host of competing figures cut out of the same cloth. What happened?
Today, the Boy Scouts are fighting the last battle in a lost cause. Any man who stands up to the “women’s movement” is completely marginalized as a sexist and homophobe. These names have become just as stigmatizing as “racist” used to be. It is no wonder that women now are the majority of college graduates and are increasing their role in every institution from private enterprise to public service, including the military. Is this a healthy trend? The answer is clearly “no.”
Edward Gibbon chronicles the increasing femininity of the Roman Empire in his six-volume work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He catalogues the progressive decadence that rendered the once-proud republic into spoils for barbarian hordes. The consuls in the early republic, who were warrior-generals adhering to a strict code of honor, gradually gave way to the backroom emperors who were no more than brazen criminals and thugs. It is the same script in all noble human enterprise: The fabric which bred success is torn apart by the complacency of the successful. When warfare is demonized as violence and negotiation is raised to an art, the end is near. Today, we are there.
Today’s politics reminds me of the make-believe kingdom of Queen Herzeloyde. She was the mother of Parzival, the hero of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 12th-century epic poem Parzival. This masterwork is widely touted as a literary cornerstone of Western civilization. It not only extolled the virtues of knighthood and chivalry, but it also exhorted men to overcome all obstacles on the path to individual greatness.
Parzival’s mother was married to a knightly king whose military campaigns against worldly evil kept him away from his kingdom for years on end. Herzeloyde is heartbroken to hear of her husband’s death and vows to keep her son sheltered from the knightly world. She sets up a royal court in the wilderness with a deadly sanction against anyone who would allow her son to come in contact with a knight. The boy grows up oblivious of the outside world until he confronts two knights in shining armor on horseback. His mother is distraught to discover that there will be no discouraging her son’s ambition to become a knight. She goes so far as to dress her son as a fool upon his setting out upon his adventure in hopes that he will be humiliated and return to her.
Academia, with the help of the media, has labeled all reference to manly virtue as patriarchal, sexist, and homophobic. Womanly virtue, on the other hand, is extolled. Caring, compassion, sensitivity, and understanding are virtues meant to blur the distinction between good and evil and drown out the call of manly conscience to “do the right thing.” Like a mother who refuses to see the evil in her son, the feminist professors cast all moral standards as relative and subjective. 
Exit the cowboy and enter the mama’s boy. Queen Herzeloyde would have no problem raising young Parzival in today’s schools, as devoid of examples of manly virtue and rugged individualism as they are. All reference to the service of a higher calling — to God and country — has been replaced by the call to community service with the emphasis on care and compassion for the downtrodden.
We now have a would-be queen named Pelosi who sits atop a vast bureaucracy dedicated to rooting out all reference to God and a higher calling while making sure that any reference to manly virtue, rugged individualism, and decency is stigmatized as “hate speech.” No nation has ever demonized manhood to its own reward. A nation that renounces violence, no matter how just the cause, signs its own death certificate — and for a violent death at that.
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