To some, this three-day weekend means a break from work, a chance to go camping or maybe buy a new mattress at 40% off. The last Monday in May is also marked as the official beginning of Summer – hot dogs, BBQ, swimming pools etc…That’s all fine, it’s part of the glory that makes us American – because we can. As Patriots, we should also take a moment from our leisurely celebrations, to remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, along with the families of those that fell. To those that preserved this nation, preserved our interests, and preserved our ideals that all men are created equal. If true Patriotism is loving your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it – as Mark Twain said – then raise a glass to those that help defend and replenish the Tree of Liberty.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their county; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered yet we have this consolation with us, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”
Tom Paine after the Declaration of Independence
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
—3rd stanza of the Star Spangled Banner
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. 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—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, 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.
Gettysburg Address–Abraham Lincoln
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene.
WW1 veteran Ernest Hemingway, in ‘A Farewell to Arms’, 1929
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
General George S Patton, Jr.
In my generation, this was not the first occasion when the strong had attacked the weak….Communism was acting in Korea just as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese had acted ten, fifteen, and twenty years earlier. I felt certain that if South Korea was allowed to fall, Communist leaders would be emboldened to override nations closer to our own shores.”
President Harry Truman
There’s never been a noble war except in the history books and propaganda movies. It’s a bloody, dirty, cruel, costly mistake in almost every case, as it was in this war that would end so badly. But the young soldiers can be and often are noble, selfless, and honorable. They don’t fight for a flag or a president or mom and apple pie. When it comes down to it they fight and die for each other, and that is reason enough for them, and for me.”
Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore
A line has been drawn in the sand…Withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally and immediately, or face the terrible consequences.
George H.W. Bush