“[On Memorial Day] let us honor the men and women who recognized a goal larger than their own personal desires and sacrificed their time, and sometimes their health or lives, for the attainment of that goal. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution created a unique nation…[which has] something to say to the rest of the world: an idea, a hope.
“Today, we are a nation to which millions flock when they have no hope where they are. Our nation has always been a melting pot, and so long as we remain so — and avoid the balkanizing tendency of hyphenated Americanism — we will continue to benefit, and the world will continue to benefit.
“The story we are part of is a grand one, and it is our privilege to be proud of it, and…to be proud of our sons and daughters who wore — and wear — its service uniforms. We thank them for their willingness to put their lives on the line, whether we agree or disagree with policy that put them in particular places at particular times. Would I have been at Valley Forge, virtually starving in the snow? Would I have stood and given silent honor at Appomattox to my Confederate brothers as they lay down their arms? Would I have been a young navy flier on patrol over Iwo Jima? Would I have been scared and frozen and down to my last rounds, crouching in the night on a hill in Korea? Would I leap from a Huey in Vietnam? And would I be a marine in Arghanistan or Iraq today, right now, facing deadly intent by an implacable enemy intent on doing my nation — and the idea behind it — deadly harm? Would you?
“If you are reading this…you have benefited from the fact that there are thousands, even millions, who did these things, and much more, often hidden behind the lines. There is glory here. For those who are nervous at such a term nowadays applied to our self-flagellating consciousness, I say enjoy the fact that you have the liberty to be nervous. Our military heroes have given us 230 years of safety for growth, for invention, for the creation of more goods, more services, more value, more security, more health, more fineness of living, more satisfaction and more willingness — nay, eagerness — to give back than has ever occurred on earth before, ever.
“Thank you, from our hearts.”
The previous essay is excerpted from a longer article by Dikkon Eberhart in the May 25, 2006 edition of The Forecaster, a local weekly newspaper.
Other recommended Memorial Day reading: The Gettysburg Address.
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