Monday, May 28, 2007

In Memoriam

I just watched President Bush's Memorial Day address from Arlington a little while ago, and he said something I really agreed with. To paraphrase, "the greatest tribute to our fallen the liberty and freedom we enjoy here today." I started this weekend thinking of the dozen or so people that I work with, and how most of them had plans of camping trips, barbecues, classic car shows, etc. I wondered why seemingly too few people could take off one day to give quiet thanks for the service men and women who have given up their lives, so that we may live in the freest and greatest country on earth. But after thinking, I don't think you necessarily need to march in a parade, or lay wreaths at a cemetery, or any of those other things commonly seen as memorializing. Just live your life, enjoy your freedoms, and hopefully, in the back of your mind, while you laugh and joke with family and friends around the grilling burgers, you'll find yourself saying a silent prayer for all your fellow citizens who have laid such a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. (All thanks to A. Lincoln for paraphrased quote).

I still would like to take a moment to single out a few true heroes. Men and women whose actions and deeds defy rational thought, and places them on an entirely different plane from the rest of us. A Holocaust survivor,Corporal Tibor "Ted" Rubin came to America after being liberated in World War II, and joined the army. His actions in battle, and in yet another prisoner camp, ensured that he would receive this nations highest honor. Definitely read more. And there's Private George J. Peters, who was part of a 10 man parachute drop into Germany. Unfortunately, they landed within yards of a German machine gun nest, which quickly pinned them down. Pvt. Peters stood, and advanced on the enemy, armed only with a rifle and some grenades. His one-man charge immediately drew the German machine gun fire onto himself, and away from his comrades. He was hit, and fell. He stood, continued his charge, and was hit again. Unable now to stand, Pvt. Peters crawled directly into the enemy machine gun fire until he was close enough to take out the nest with some grenades. A true American Hero. And there's Dr. Mary E. Walker, the first and only female recipient of the Medal of Honor, who served with the Union during the Civil War. She was the first female U.S. Army Surgeon, earning a salary of $10 per year. A colorful character, she later went on to fight in the temperance movement and was also an early feminist.

These are just a few of the thousands who have received our nations highest honor. And but a small handful of the silent assemblage that have passed from this world, so that we may better enjoy its fruits. Their honor, courage, and their commitment to this great nation stand as a lasting tribute to the significance of the cherished values of liberty and freedom that we enjoy, and honor, today.

Additional coverage: Ragnar over at MPJ posts a tear-inducing photo, with a link to the story behind it, Michelle shows how not to honor a fallen soldier, Jackboot over at the A.I.R. posts some photos and stirring lyrics, Cox & Forkum give some history behind this day and show us that a cartoon is worth a thousand words, Frank J. lends us his trademark levity and wit, and finally, Bryan over at Hot Air has a good link round-up, and also check out the video on the front page.

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