Memorial Day 2015: Never Forget

Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o’er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, nights of waking.
-Sir Walter Scott

Begun on the 30th of May 1868, Decoration Day began as a way to honor those who died during the War Between the States. That war killed 623,026 total from both sides of the conflict, the costliest war in this great nations existence. (Source)

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). (Source)

Each generation of Americans has experienced the effects of war and, based on my observations of the human condition, will continue to do so.

When I think of this day each year, I am reminded of the men I’ve known who gave their all. I also then feel the weight of all the sorrow that those men’s deaths caused for so many in their families and friends.

We must never forget the sacrifices of our fallen.

The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children.
-William Havard

6 June 1944: Honoring Those Brave Men

dday

Greatness personified

I have had the honor of knowing a few men who endured the horrors of the Normandy invasion.

To this day I cannot begin to fathom the emotions they must have experienced.

My eyes water and my heart is weighted with pride when I think of what they accomplished and how they suffered for us.

Montford Point Marines: Semper Fi

alcorn-founders-day-2013.jpg“A man has no control of where he is born, or to whom he is born, or the color of his skin.
He may have no control in how or where he dies.
But he has complete control of the life lived during that time in the middle:  between when he, or she is born and when he, or she dies.
This is the time we are given to discover what matters most, and to live one’s life accordingly.”
The opening remarks of Dr. Ozell Sutton, spoken slowly in  distinctive deep baritone, set the tone for a stirring, heartfelt, and remarkable acceptance speech given as the 2103 recipient of the Hiram R. Revels Achievement Award, at the celebration of Founders Day 2013, Alcorn State University.
The Revels Award is the highest award granted by the University to an individual whose life exhibits tenacity, fortitude, and excellence.  One of the original Montford Point Marines, and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Dr. Sutton discovered at an early age what mattered most, evidenced by the decisions he has made and actions he has taken throughout his life as a journalist, a civil rights pioneer, and a distinguished career at the US Department of Justice.
Ms, Carla Williams, Ms. Dwantra Anderson and I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Sutton after the ceremony. I asked him about Monford Point.  His eyes became misty as he recalled friends and places;  Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Bougainville; distant in time, but forever a part of his legacy.  I think it may have been his experience as a US Marine that prevailed upon his very soul the absolute value and importance of equality and justice, as well as the importance of pursuing those ideals with passion.
… tenacity … fortitude … excellence …  Dr. Ozell Sutton.  Semper Fidelis
By the way, I will be adding this book to my reading list.  “From Yonder to Here”: A Memoir of Dr. Ozell Sutton.

Reagan at Normandy

Commemorating the 40th anniversay of D-Day, Ronald Reagan’s words are still an inspiration today.

Thank you veterans.

Memorial Day: Honoring And Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

Today is not the day for thanking our veterans, that is for all the other days of the year. Today is a day for remembering those who gave their lives in service to this country.

Of the few faces of the men I have known who were killed in conflict while in the military, they are forever the young men I remember. They never experienced the ravages of time, that is the burden for those of us who have lived on. As it is with the millions of others, from every branch of the military, buried in graves all over the world.

It is our duty to honor and remember their gift to us. We owe them not only that, but all that we have.

*Cross posted at Urban Grounds*

Texas Buries A Hero~R.I.P Chris Kyle

The shock we all felt a little over a week ago when the news of his murder was announced still is with many Texans.

An American Hero, a legendary SEAL from Texas, loving husband and father, has left his loved one’s hurting and an entire state circling around them to show his life was with meaning and well spent, short though it was.

Chris’ memorial service was held on Monday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Approximately 7,000 attended, as his coffin rested on the big blue star on the fifty yard line.

Mrs. Kyle gave an emotional eulogy, which breaks my heart to watch.

His young son and daughter wrote a farewell message to their father, which was printed on the back of the memorial service program.

Farewell note to Dad

Today, a funeral procession I have never heard of or seen departed Midlothian, Texas, about 25 miles SWest of Dallas, on a 220 mile journey for Chris’ final resting place in the Texas State Cemetery, reserved by state law for Texans that have made a significant contribution.

The procession departed at around 8a.m. The temperature was in the mid 40’s, it was raining and the wind was out of the North. The cold matched the feeling so many were left with after hearing of his death, the rain was like tears from Heaven.
On the 220 mile journey, people stood out in the weather to show their respect to a fallen hero that few ever knew. It was an inspiring tribute and a reflection on how genuinely good hearted and grateful Texans are for those who serve with honor.
Every city and small town on the long journey down the heavily traveled, but now shut down, I-35 turned out on the road side and overpasses.

R.I.P. warrior!
God Bless the Kyle family and God Bless Texas!

Navy SEAL Tridents hand punched into Kyle’s coffin

Happy 65th Zoomies!

The National Security Act of 1947 established the Department of the Air Force.

To Fly, Fight, Win, in air, space and cyberspace.

Happy 65th Birthday.  Thank you for what you do every day.

See Also, Matt Bracken’s new  short story, What I Saw at the Coup

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