As you read this post, I ask that you please leave your politics at the door and join with me to remember Lexington, Yorktown, Lake Erie, New Orleans, Shiloh, Antietam, San Juan Hill, Santiago, Belleau Wood, Ypres, Argonne, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Anzio, Normandy, Inchon, Chosin, Khe Sahn, Da Nang, Saigon, Kuwait City, Baghdad, Fallujah, Tikrit, Kabul, and a thousand other bloody fields famous, infamous, or maybe forgotten where American men and, lately, women have spilled their blood to dye the red stripes of Old Glory and keep her waving high.
They did not have the luxury of picking their wars or their battles. The veteran of the jungles of I Drang could not switch places with his forebear at Iwo Jima. One who stormed the beach at Sicily cannot walk through the Sunni Triangle. At this time and on this day, let there be no debate over whether their cause was just . . . they fought and they died for their comrades in arms, their families back home, and for their country.
Please do not demean or belittle the names on the black granite scar because they did not free the world of tyranny as their comrades enshrined a few hundred yards away did. They went where they were told to go and they all, from the colonial militiaman taking aim at a Redcoat to the squad of Marines creeping house to house in Iraq, died under arms to make this country — for good or ill — what it is today.
General Sherman said that war is indeed hell, but, sadly, war and death will always be necessary so long as Lady Liberty lifts her light in New York Harbor. This country will always be hated for what we stand for, warts and all. So let us look with awe upon the rows of white stones at Arlington, the sea of white crosses overlooking the beaches at Colleville-sur-Mer, the monuments in over a hundred cemeteries here and abroad where brave men and women lie still and cold in the earth’s embrace that liberty and freedom might burn hot and active across this country.
Never forget them. Never forget the price they paid. They are our fathers and mothers, our brothers and sisters, our relatives and friends.
They are the honored dead.
In Flanders Fields
By: Lt Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.