[May 28, 2018] In America’s cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries and public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor. Like many of my fellow countrymen on this Memorial Day, I will be standing in a cemetery where veterans are buried to honor them for their sacrifice. This is something only those who have served in combat or have lost a loved one in combat knows all too well.
I have no illusion to what I can add to the many fine speeches and endless articles and stories about Memorial Day. There is, of course, no way anyone of us can begin to repay the debt owed to so few, for so much. But in our quest for peace in the world, we must all remember that evil lurks near the surface ready to emerge and there are those among us who willingly put their lives on the line to prevent its spread.
That brings me back to the question, “Should we celebrate Memorial Day?” If someone were to ask this question, it would likely be asked by someone who is unpatriotic and uneducated in American traditions. I am asking the question today for another reason; Memorial Day is not a happy time and veterans should never be told to, “Have a happy Memorial Day.” For those who have lost friends and loved ones in the name of keeping freedom free, they bear no false impression that the price is often too steep to contemplate.
A Navy SEAL recently wrote an opinion piece for Fox News entitled, “SEAL who shot bin Laden: Don’t wish me a happy Memorial Day.” A link to it is here and worth a short read. Like many of us, we know many in our military who died in combat doing what they do best; defending America. Robert O’Neal writes:
“Don’t wish me a happy Memorial Day. There is nothing happy about the loss of the brave men and women of our armed forces who died in combat defending America. Memorial Day is not a celebration.”
Like me, he believes that the day is our reflection on the past, remembering those who are no longer with us, but knowing they did their part to help future generations yet unborn to be free of tyranny and other forms of evil that pervade our planet.
“Memorial Day is a time to honor the lives of those who would rather die than take a knee when our national anthem is played. But they will fight and die for the rights of those who kneel.
This holiday is a time to think of young lives cut short, of wives and husbands turned into widows and widowers, of children growing up without a father or mother, of parents burying their children.
Memorial Day is a time to think of might have been that never were. Of brave Americans who put their country before themselves. Without these heroes, America would not be America.”
Like Robert O’Neil, I will be standing in a cemetery of veterans today and I will stand with a Troop of Boy Scouts who will know the truth. Only a chosen few will be at the tip of the spear to keep our freedoms and rights the best in the world.