Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, Honoring A Debt We Cannot Repay

More Than A Day Off, or a Day for Picnics and Bar-B-Ques

When I entered the cemetery I removed my hat out of respect and honor. The flags were waving in the slight breeze, each one placed on the edge of the plaque of the grave of each fallen hero. The resting place of my grandfather is at the Riverside National Cemetery in Southern California, a location of many graves of brave men and women who gave voluntarily for liberty, and the American Way. Line after line of simple grave makers mark the final resting places of the brave. The graves are alone, yet among their brothers and sisters in arms.

Standing over his grave marker, it brought back the memories of my visit to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia near Washington DC, my visit to the tomb of the unknown soldier, and the rows and rows of crosses and grave markers I observed there.

My memories also harkened back to the first time I stepped into the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As with Riverside National, I removed my cap as I stepped upon that sacred ground. I read the names in silence, tears welling up in my eyes. The dead called to me, asking me not to weep, for they gave their lives willingly, so that others might live, and live with the promise of freedom.

There were those at the USS Arizona Memorial that were less respectful, leaving their caps on, talking loudly, letting their children run around the solemn place. It made me desire to shout out, "Hey, show some respect!" But I didn't. Perhaps they didn't understand. Maybe they didn't know the price for freedom that veterans like myself have experienced. Perhaps they didn't view the fallen as brothers and sisters, and as heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that our liberty might live.

My grandfather fought in World War II, and though he survived the war to live a long life, many of his fellow soldiers did not. Many of his friends and fellow troops lie in foreign lands. Many lie in graves, much like my grandfather's, in National Cemeteries across America. All of these heroes are owed a debt of unspeakable gratitude by Americans, and Memorial Day is that opportunity to do so.

With the recent war against the Islamic Jihad, and the continuing service of our fine military personnel, yet another generation of those who have proudly served and died in the service of our country is owed our thank you, and deserves our prayers.

Some ask how we can repay this debt, and show our gratitude.

One way to thank these fallen is to pause on Memorial Day to remember their sacrifice, and to thank them with our prayers for paying the cost of our freedoms. After all, our liberty has been bought and paid for with the blood of these brave heroes.


1.2 Million Americans have given their lives for our freedoms across more than two centuries and in more than a dozen wars and armed conflicts.

At the cemetery a small American flag is planted in the ground next to each grave's plaque. May they stand tall, and wave reverently.

Never forget. Keep the faith. Remember those fallen in service to the country, and to preserve the liberty of you and I.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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