Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer…
‘God Bless America, Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her, Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam…
God bless America, My home sweet home.’”
The morning breeze was soft as I posted our American flag in its place of honor and walked on to retrieve the morning paper.
It’s always an emotional day.
Many of us find it hard to talk about and express what we are feeling while emotions pour forth from the past as we reflect on the lives we pause to honor today.
American heroes. God bless America.
As we sat this morning in peace eating breakfast, we gave thanks for the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. We prayed that on this Memorial Day and every day, we would never forget the sacrifice of their lives given so that we might live today in the security and peace we enjoy. Tears choke my throat and fill my eyes as my chest swells with pride and gratitude, whenever I try to tell my granddaughters about those we honor today. Tears flow as each year, we watch the televised National Memorial Day Concert, and veteran after veteran stands when the Armed Forces Medley is played recognizing all the branches of the United States Armed Forces.
I want my granddaughters, and children and grandchildren everywhere, to know and respect the service and sacrifice of the heroes who have gone before them and who continue to stand-in-the-gap for them today. Generation after generation should know and must never forget what they did for us.
Beginning in 1866 with the placing of some flowers on the graves of some of our Civil War veterans, what we today acknowledge as Memorial Day is highlighted—and has been 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. It’s an elite unit which maintains an hour by hour vigil every day of the year—through storm and calm—at that hallowed site. An inscription can be found on the Tomb—a tomb which contains the remains of soldiers from World War I, World War II and the Korean War—which reads—
“Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
So many, for so long, have paid the price for us, beginning at Bunker Hill and Lexington and Concord and down through Valley Forge. They made the first payment for us. And that payment has been kept up-to-date through the Argonne, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Pusan and Pork Chop Hill, and across a thousand hills in Southeast Asia and the burning sands of the Persian Gulf and Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.
American heroes. They paid the price for us.
And on days like today, we need to be reminded of that heritage. Some never came back, others came back on stretchers and on crutches, in wheelchairs, and in boxes, while still others were spit upon and ridiculed. Heroes forever scared and crippled, as well as those whose bodies lie beneath row after row after row of white crosses at the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery and thousands of cemeteries across this country and world—heroes who fought and died that you and I might live and sit here today in freedom.
Those who served and remain see what’s happening in some parts of our country, with its lack of direction, with its seeming disregard for and lack of pride in our heritage. And they’re asking whether it was worth it for those they served with to have given up their tomorrows so that we could live in freedom today. Was it worth it to storm Tarawa and lose a leg there? Was it worth it to storm Iwo Jima, or fight in Vietnam and lose a buddy there? Was it worth it to fight blinding sand storms to liberate a people from fear, mutilation and death?
And on days like today, we must make the answer—
Yes, by God, it was worth it, and we shall never forget the price you paid for us.
For you see, liberty may be a heritage, as my granddaughters, and men, women and children around our country enjoy—but it is never a gift. The liberty we enjoy today is not a gift—it has been paid for at great price.
America will stand as a place of liberty and equality, justice and freedom, only as long as there are men and women, children and young people—generation after generation—who resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, and who themselves are willing to pay the price and stand up for America.
American heroes. They paid the price for us. God bless America.
May God bless them and embrace them—one and all.
And may God continue to bless America.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.