Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Some Memorial Day Thoughts

They lie in rows of white crosses, or white stones, often stained by the decades or even centuries of weathers. The contrast with the green grass is stark, clean, almost pristine.

Many of these fields are in foreign lands near where they fell.

Sometimes they lie in unmarked fields or hillsides that once were the scenes of the combat in which they fell, unnoticed, and alone.

Some who rose to great deeds that were witnessed, or high rank, are memorialized in stone and bronze monuments.

Many are in simple graves in cemeteries around the nation for which they served. Often, little of no mention of their service is evident.

From long before this was even a nation, they served the ideal of the New World's promise that

"... wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are uppon us.",
as John Winthrop wrote in 1630, drawing on a parable from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

The ideals of Freedom and Justice referred to in Winthrop's sermon written on board the good ship Arabella, were then drawn upon by the Revolutionaries, such as Samuel Adams, John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Monroe, and so on. They applied the thoughts of Philosophers John Locke, and Michel Montaigne on the God-given rights of the common man.

They devised a document that would validate the sacrifice of 4,435 Patriots with the immortal words,

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
Those words would inspire more patriots, eventually totalling 1,190,109 deaths in the service of the country during wartime over the next 235 years.
[http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004615.html]

On this Memorial Day Weekend, take a flower to a cemetery and place it on a grave that has a US Flag flying on it. Better yet, take a bunch, and spread them around. And while you are there, say a small private word of thanks to those you so honor. They will hear. Oh yes, they will hear.

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