Honoring the American Soldier
With Memorial Day approaching I recall the words of a fellow veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Father Dennis Edward O'Brien. This U.S. Navy chaplain, who served on Guadalcanal during WWII, wrote:
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
Father O'Brien's words are perhaps the truest words ever spoken on war. No sane person ever asks for war. However, it takes true heroes to defend freedom when wars occur.
The holiday this weekend is much more than a long weekend to enjoy picnics and friends. Memorial Day is an important reminder of those who gave their lives for their country.
One of the most famous speeches in American history was given by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 honoring the over 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers who were wounded, missing, or dead at the Battle of Gettysburg.
"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
May God bless all who have worn our nation's uniform, both living and dead.