Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light.
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?..
O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The air was surprisingly cool as I walked outside at dawn this morning to post our American flag on the front of our home. Our children and Granddaughters were with us, and all, including Lynda, still slept peacefully as the sun broke forth on the fields of red, white and blue now fluttering on a soft breeze passing by.
Another Memorial Day, and my gratitude was full to overflowing in a humble heart awash in a concert of memories and hopes in harmony with the sacredness of the day.
Another glorious day in the life of this generation, and assured only by the courage and steadfastness of those generations which had gone before.
Another day where we pause to remember and accept anew the legacy of freedom now resting in our hands, and the duty imposed on us to assure its safe passage into the hands of those generations who follow and those who are yet to come.
A day where we pause as a Nation and honor the sacrifice of those who have stood in the gap for us and for this great land, and consider what it all should mean as we live the lives which their courage secured for us.
A day of remembrance which began in 1866 with the placing of some flowers on the graves of some of our Civil War veterans, Memorial Day today has been highlighted since the dedication in 1911 of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, by the President’s placing of a wreath at the Tomb under the watchful eye of an elite unit of the “Old Guard” of the Third United States Infantry, called the Tomb Guard, which maintains an hour by hour vigil every day of the year…at that hallowed site. The inscription, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God”, can be found on that Tomb containing the remains of a soldier from World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
A day of remembrance where we recall the words of President Abraham Lincoln delivered on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the National Soldier’s Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania when he said:
“…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….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…”
A day of remembrance like today marked by ceremonies across this sweet land of liberty, where we reflect upon those valiant men and women whose shoulders we stand upon today, and have stood upon throughout our God-ordained history. Patriots, never seeking territory, but always seeking justice and the liberation of enslaved peoples whose hearts cried for freedom and a chance at the life God had formed in their souls, while we slept quietly in our beds, as the morning sun continues to rise day-after-day over this great land.
Patriots, who often came back from their willing duty in pieces, in boxes, on stretchers and crutches—forever scarred and crippled—and whose bodies lie beneath row after row after row of white crosses in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery and in thousands of cemeteries across this Country and world. Patriots, who fought, died and were wounded so that you and I might continue to live, sit and sleep here today in freedom.
Their legacy of belief in something better—in a hope for a brighter tomorrow must not end with them—but must live on in us and in the purpose of each day of our lives. Each passing generation has the responsibility to not only remember them but to honor them by taking up the torch they carried, and embracing, with their memory, the vision and hope for our lives, for our children and grandchildren, which they kept burning brightly with the blood of their courage.
We have accomplished great things as a Nation. But the trail of our greatness and heritage is sown with the life-blood of American heroes.
This is a day of remembrance of our American heroes. And this is a time for all of us—with the example and sacrifice of those we should always remember and who we especially honor on this Memorial Day—to reach toward heaven, and beyond the stars, to touch the face of God.
We have done it before, we can do it again.
“And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
May God continue to bless this great land, the lives and families of all those who have sacrificed for us and for this great Nation, and all of us who remain and are yet to come, as we continue to stand-up for the United States of America.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2009. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.