Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 2005

I admit I'm a little cranky this Memorial Day. There has been way too much partying down here on the Gulf. I wonder how many, if any, of those young people have given any thought to what Memorial Day means. There's a time to party and there's a time not to party. This is a time not to party. There are plenty of other weekends to do that. And I don't mean that the young people should walk around with their heads hung -- just that they should show more respect for the occasion.

I'm saddened that they seem to take their freedom for granted, that they seem not to care a hoot in hell that others are fighting and bleeding and dying to preserve that freedom -- that this is a time to honor those who have fallen, who have given their all. I don't think it's asking a lot that they show respect.

I was out doing yardwork Saturday, mowing grass, whacking weeds, spraying for mosquitoes, tending the grave of Murphy the Wonder Dog, my Irish Setter companion for 10 years. Ol' Murph died on his 10th birthday.

I had always wanted an Irish Setter, but kept putting it off. Then I found myself in a place where for the first time in my life, I wasn't real sure I would make it back home. In quiet moments, I would think of home and all the things I missed and all the things I had not done and I would think to myself that if I make it back, finding an Irish Setter would be near the top of my "to do" list.

When I found Murphy Reagan Buchanan, son of Grand National Champion Stormin' Norman and the beautiful Katy of Lake Forest, it was a happy day. And we spent many more happy days together. Murph was not only a best friend, he was a reminder that I made it home. He was a reminder that others did not.

So this morning, I'll sit out near his grave as I have each Memorial Day since he died, and I'll think of him and I'll remember those brave men who died in the Wadi Al Batin during the Battle of Ruqi. And I'll thank God that I served with such men. I will honor them and those who gave their lives in past battles and battles since.


Here dead lie we because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
But young men think it is, and we were young.

- A.E. Houseman

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And they who for their country die
Shall fill an honored grave,
For glory lights the soldier's tomb,
And beauty weeps the brave.

- Joseph Rodman Drake

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We count it death to falter, not to die.

- Simonides of Cheos

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Give me leave without offense always to live and die in this mind -- that he is not worthy to live at all who in fear of danger or death shunneth his country's service and his own honor; seeing that death is inevitable and the fame of virtue immortal.

- Sir Humphrey Gilbert

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So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.

- John Bunyan

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Better like Hector in the field to die.
Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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We who must live salute you who have found strength to die.

- Royal Cortissoz: Inscription in Memorial Hall, Yale University, 1915.

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When a soldier was injured and could not get back to safety, his buddy went out to get him, against his officer's orders. He returned mortally wounded and his friend, whom he had carried back, was dead.

The officer was angry. "I told you not to go," he said. "Now I've lost both of you. It was not worth it."

The dying man replied, "But it was, sir, because when I got to him he said, 'Jim, I knew you'd come.'."

- Leslie D. Weatherhead, On Comradeship

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For even those who come short in other ways may justly plead the valor with which they have fought for their country.

- Thucydides

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Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and risked all that the sheltered and protected can never experience.

- John Stuart Mill

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When duty whispers low, thou must, -- you must reply, I can.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Nations have passed away and left no traces,
and history gives the naked cause of it
one single, simple reason in all cases
they fell because their people were not fit.

- Rudyard Kipling

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These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

- Thomas Paine

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For with slight efforts, how should one obtain great results? It is foolish even to desire it.

- Euripides

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

- Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

1 comment:

Gun-Toting Liberal said...

Though we may lean slightly different on political matters, we are alike in more ways than we are different. For instance, like yourself, I cannot fathom why service to the country does not sell itself when we are at battle against a tremendous enemy.

Military service is one of the most honorable journeys a person can embark upon. There is no better way to earn some self-worth, or the respect of people from all sides, including the enemy as well as your own countrymen. Frankly, it torques me off to no end that more liberals haven't stepped up to the plate to help out with the liberation of the oppressed in the world, but that is just me.

Happy Memorial Day, sir... and thank you for your service. Oh, and may your dearly beloved canine companion rest in peace!