Memorial Day

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by moreluck, May 26, 2007.

  1. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    By Joseph L. Galloway
    > McClatchy Newspapers
    > It's that time of year again. Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of

    > summer fun for most Americans, and as I've done before in this space,
    > I want to pause to take note of the real reason there is a Memorial
    > Day.
    > It's meant to honor and pay our respects to those Americans who've
    > given their lives in service to our nation, who stand in an unbroken
    > line from Lexington's rude bridge to Cemetery Ridge to the Argonne
    > Forest to the beaches of Normandy to the frozen Chosin Reservoir to
    > the Ia Drang Valley to the sands of Kuwait to the streets of Baghdad.
    > Over the past 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air
    > Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is
    > war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and

    > facing months or years in military hospitals.
    > This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former
    > roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a
    > year-long tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.
    > Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that
    > fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers,
    > applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May
    > 17 on the web-log of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the
    > Media Matters for America Web site.
    > "It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon.
    > This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the

    > hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the
    > entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants

    > and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against
    > the walls. There are thousands here.
    > "This hallway, more than any other, is the 'Army' hallway. The G3
    > offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All
    > Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not
    > have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other,

    > cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path
    > remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed
    > for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising
    > already. Nobody cares.
    > "10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost

    > of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to

    > the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause
    > with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the
    > length of the hallway.
    > "A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the
    > soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his
    > presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg,
    > and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that

    > he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.
    > "Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and
    > nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I
    > described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat

    > different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for
    > not having shared in the burden . . . yet.
    > "Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the
    > wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I
    > think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's

    > chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.
    > "Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of

    > his peers, each private, corporal or sergeant assisted as need be by a

    > field grade officer.
    > "11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt,
    > and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. 'My
    > hands hurt.' Christ. Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes,
    > soldier after soldier has come down this hallway _ 20, 25, 30.
    > Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms,
    > but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.
    > "They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet
    > for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by
    > the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of
    > their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down
    > this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching
    > handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade.
    > More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.
    > "There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride
    > pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite
    > understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew

    > up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older
    > immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded
    > mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's
    > behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the

    > silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his
    > eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have
    > themselves been a part of this parade in the past.
    > "These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our
    > brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every
    > single Friday, all year long, for more than four years."
  2. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    Freedom Is Not Free
    By LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG - Copyright 1981
    I watched the flag pass by one day,
    It fluttered in the breeze.
    A young Service man saluted it,
    And then he stood at ease.

    I looked at him in uniform
    So young, so tall, so proud,
    With hair cut square and eyes alert
    He'd stand out in any crowd.

    I thought how many men like him
    Had fallen through the years.
    How many died on foreign soil
    How many mothers' tears?

    How many pilots' planes shot down?
    How many died at sea
    How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
    No, freedom isn't free.

    I heard the sound of Taps one night,
    When everything was still,
    I listened to the bugler play
    And felt a sudden chill.

    I wondered just how many times
    That Taps had meant "Amen,"
    When a flag had draped a coffin.
    Of a brother or a friend.

    I thought of all the children,
    Of the mothers and the wives,
    Of fathers, sons and husbands
    With interrupted lives.

    I thought about a graveyard
    At the bottom of the sea
    Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
    No, freedom isn't free.
  3. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    A Memorial Day to Remember

    This Memorial Day, I will remember the 4,435 Americans who died revolting against the tyranny of King George in the Revolutionary War.

    I will remember the 2,260 Americans who died fighting the British again in the War of 1812.

    I will remember the 13,283 Americans who died in the Mexican War.

    I will remember the 558,052 Americans, on both sides, who died in our bloodiest war, the Civil War.

    I will remember the 2,246 Americans who died in the Spanish- American War.

    I will remember the 116,708 Americans who died fighting German aggression in World War I.

    I will remember the 407,316 Americans who died defeating fascism in Europe and imperialism in the Pacific during World War II.

    I will remember the 33,651 Americans who died battling North Korea.

    I will remember the 58,168 Americans who died in Vietnam, including my best friend from high school, killed by a sniper in June of 1968, at the tender age of 20.

    I will remember the 293 Americans who died driving Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait during the Gulf War.

    I will remember the 700-plus Americans who have died liberating Iraq.

    I will remember the simple words carved in stone at the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC: "Freedom isn't free."

    I will remember those who have paid the price for that freedom, which I so often take for granted.

    I will remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the willingness to act decisively in spite of fear.

    I will remember that there have always been far more tyrants than freely elected statesmen, and that brave Americans have had to pay the ultimate price to preserve liberty throughout our nation's history.

    I will remember that the United States of America has always been a fragile experiment defended by ordinary men called upon to do extraordinary things in times of great peril.

    This Memorial Day weekend, the long awaited World War II Memorial is being dedicated in Washington, DC. It has been a long time coming, and many who served in that epic struggle are no longer here to see it. In fact, we are now losing the members of that generation, most of whom are now in their eighties, at a rate of more than 1,000 per day.

    There was never any adequate way for us to thank them for what they did. They never expected that we should. They simply did what destiny called them to do, and when it was finished, those who survived returned home to resume their lives and stoically cope with the horrors they had seen.

    This Memorial Day, I will remember that even as the free nations of the world could have lost World War II, without the will to be victorious, America could still lose the worldwide war on terror.

    As always, this year I will commemorate the sacrifice of my grandfather and my father, who served in World Wars I and II, respectively. They are now buried next to their beloved wives in a small cemetery on a hilltop surrounded by rolling farmland in Montgomery County in Southwest Iowa.

    I will remember their service, and the noble lives they led after returning home. I will remember that they helped to preserve a legacy of freedom and opportunity for those of us who came after them.

    This Memorial Day, I will remember those who sacrificed to protect my God-given rights. "SEE YOURSELF AS GOD SEES YOU" You're God's Best, ~ Doug Patton
  4. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, they gave up two lives -- the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for their county, for us. All we can do is remember." - Ronald Wilson Reagan (Remarks at Veteran's Day ceremony, Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Virginia, 1985)
  5. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    Tell them of us and say,

    For their tomorrows

    We gave our today.
  6. tonyexpress

    tonyexpress Whac-A-Troll Patrol Staff Member

    Nice thread for remembering what we take for granted!


    Thanks to all those that gave so we can live the American Dream.:thumbup1: