The Glory of Patriotism.
As we head towards the last Monday of May, Memorial Day, we must take a minute to ponder the Spirit of Patriotism. The poet, S.W.Scott said it best –
“Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
who never to himself hath said
This is my own, my native land.”
Patriotism is neither mundane nor maudlin – it’s an unsurpassable love for the motherland that evolves from honesty and sincerity and culminates in the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the sake of the motherland and its sovereignty. Those who willingly take risks for their country are indeed noble souls. Not everybody can harness this selfless conviction to translate into action that keeps the country and its citizens safe. The draft-evasion that ensued in the wake of the enlistment for the Vietnam War was proof of this.
The Statistics –
On Memorial Day, we remember all those who died in Military service – more than 400,000 in World War II, more than 30,000 in Korea, more than 50,000 in Vietnam.
As many as 620,000 soldiers died in the line of duty in the Civil War, stunningly about 2 percent of the population at that time. To compare, while more than 2.5 million soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, that number is still less than one percent of the U.S. population.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 6,800 U.S. military servicemen and women have died in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Memorial Day, there are many ways to remember the fallen, including a visit to Arlington National Cemetery or many other local commemorations. But at a minimum, wherever you are, you can observe a moment of silence at 12:01 p.m. along with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), or you can set your own moment at some point during the day. – Mary Kimm, The Connection to your Community.
Samantha Brown stopped at Dunkin Donuts this past March. When she returned to her car, she found an envelope under her windshield wipers, with two $20 bills in it. It was accompanied by a note that said,
“I noticed the sticker on the back of your car. Take your hero out to dinner when he comes home. Thank you both for serving. Him deployed and you waiting.” — United States Veteran / God Bless.
She had a sticker on the back of her car that said, “Half my heart is in Afghanistan.” Tears filled her eyes, and she thought, “God bless our troops and all who stand behind them.”
In one of the Memorial Day letters published in USA Today, came this touching tribute –
I will mark this Memorial Day by remembering Larry Allen, a fallen Marine from Decatur, Ga.
On June 18, 1970, somewhere in Vietnam, our squad ran into an ambush and was surrounded. We were taking heavy fire from the enemy we could not see. We were advancing when Larry stepped directly in front of me and one other Marine, taking a bullet wound in the lower stomach, meant for us. As he lay dying before us, I will never forget the helplessness I felt. The firefight was so intense that our choppers could not get in to help Larry and the other wounded. That day, we lost a wonderful 18-year-old Marine who not long before was running high school track in Georgia.
I salute you, Larry. Thanks for giving two of us our lives. Semper Fi, my friend.
Terry Franks; Springville, Ala.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MEMORIAL DAY.
1. The Beginning.
In the somber time after the Civil War when men came home wounded, some not appearing at all, a shop owner in Waterloo, New York, enlisted the cooperation of others to shut down all shops in remembrance of all the soldiers who never came home alive. They encouraged citizens to visit grave sites and memorials. Back then, it was known as Decoration Day, as people decorated the graves of the fallen men but was renamed Memorial day in 1882.
2. Memorial Day, a national holiday.
During his term, President Nixon declared the last Monday of May a holiday in remembrance of all the soldiers who laid down their lives fighting for this country. It was also believed that flowers would bloom all over the country at this time.
3. The Pomp and the Parades.
For every town in America, small or large, celebrations are typified by parades that include past and present veterans and soldiers who represent the armed forces, and the men and women who keep us safe. Children should understand that freedom is not something they should take for granted. It takes committed men and women to keep fighting to keep us free; hundreds of thousands lost their lives in fighting to keep our country safe and free of tyranny.
4. Respect and Remembrance.
It is importance to pay your respects to those who fought to keep our country free – visit a grave, place a bouquet and take a minute to silently contemplate the dreams and the life lost in the line of duty.
5. It’s Okay to Celebrate.
As long as you remember what this day signifies, it’s okay to celebrate – that means celebrating the lives and valor of the people who gave their lives to the defense of our country. Don’t let it be just about taking a break, going off on trips or barbecues….write a nice letter to one who has lost a son, sister, father. Bake some cookies and pies for the Veterans in hospitals and rehabs.
The Homeless Veteran.
Many soldiers return home to practically nothing – the fiancé stopped waiting and carried on with his/her life, an aged parent died and has no other family, friends have forgotten….the sad stories are heart-rending. Many suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other disabilities and find themselves jobless and without a home. The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates nationally that more than 100,000 veterans are homeless on a given night – and twice that over the course of a year.
There are many programs in place to fix this problem, but a large number of the Vets have absolutely no clue about them. Still, the Veteran’s Association (VA) says it is committed to ending veteran homelessness by the end of next year. Learn more at http://www.va.gov/homeless/.
The department has put up approximately $600 million into outreach over the next two years. And as many don’t have even a mobile phone, it’s difficult for the Vets to move around even by bus as it would cost them dollars they don’t have to spend. It remains a challenge to reach out to the Vets.
In this new era of hope, Zebrablinds bows to all those who have lost their lives, and to those who continue to fight for the freedom of this great nation. Semper Fi.