May 28, 2012

The Blood of Heroes Never Dies [All American Series, Part 1 of 10]

Proverbs 10:7
"The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot."

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Where exactly Memorial Day began - Waterloo NY or elsewhere - is unknown. Probably, it had many separate beginnings as there is an innate impulse to honor the dead when it comes to heroic deeds. In the end, it is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life. The best way to commemorate the fallen dead who each displayed their love of country is to remember them and to treat the day as one of observance and not as a day off to play a round of golf.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This American holiday is observed on the last Monday of May, and honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.

"If Not Me, Then Who?"

Tom Manion has a moving article in today's Wall Street Journal, ahead of Memorial Day, explaining how he came to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families.
I served in the military for 30 years. But it was impossible to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families until April 29, 2007, the day my son, First Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq. 
Travis was just 26 years old when an enemy sniper's bullet pierced his heart after he had just helped save two wounded comrades. Even though our family knew the risks of Travis fighting on the violent streets of Fallujah, being notified of his death on a warm Sunday afternoon in Doylestown, Pa., was the worst moment of our lives. 
While my son's life was relatively short, I spend every day marveling at his courage and wisdom. Before his second and final combat deployment, Travis said he wanted to go back to Iraq in order to spare a less-experienced Marine from going in his place. His words—"If not me, then who . . . "—continue to inspire me. 
My son is one of thousands to die in combat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Because of their sacrifices, as well as the heroism of previous generations, Memorial Day 2012 should have tremendous importance to our entire nation, with an impact stretching far beyond one day on the calendar.

Consider the simple poem by Moina Michael -

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.

Embrace the Remembrance & Observance of Things

Frederick Douglass, the great 19th-century abolitionist said that the need to erect monuments "is native to the human heart, and among the holiest of all. It is composed of two elements, pious gratitude on the one hand, and an earnest desire to perpetuate illustrious examples of 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report' [Phil. 4:8] and to make them the property of posterity."

The evil, both literally and figuratively, do not prosper. Indeed, consider the fates of their statues.  Lenin and Stalin and Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi each had their monuments toppled and dismembered. This illustration deals nicely with today's main Scriptural theme: "The name of the wicked shall rot."


It's About People Who Gave Their All

T.J. Woodard is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge. Read what he has to say about Memorial Day.

To many Americans, Memorial Day remains a day of stories. Stories about heroes. Stories about valor. Stories about sacrifice. But to veterans like me, Memorial Day is about men and women, friends no longer with us, feelings of emptiness. Memorial Day is about people. It is about people who gave their all, people who gave of themselves and people who loved their country and their friends more than themselves. It is about those who died, those who suffered horrific wounds, and those who have serious wounds that we cannot see by looking at them. It is about people who will never be exactly like they were before they went to war. It is about heroes.

The debt you  & I owe to brave men who died fighting for our principles is huge. Their sacrifice in armed conflict allowed enterprise and self rule to flourish, lifting the lives of billions of people toward a hopeful future. We speak proudly of our fallen heroes, as well we should, honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Please honor the fallen this Memorial Day Holiday by paying your respects to their surviving families. Remember these heroes. Cherish the freedoms that they bled & died for as enshrined by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Do not let any ideologue from any part of the political spectrum take it away from you, either in one fell swoop or in small compromises.

Above all, pray for our military families (including the CIA and other covert programs out there protecting our freedoms).

Freedom is precious. Exercise it wisely!

"God, lift the hearts of those, for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued deprivation." -- Rev. D. Kozelka (ret.)

Sources: Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, American Thinker, YouTube,, U.S. Memorial

No comments: