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
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
We count it death to falter, not to die.
- Simonides of Cheos
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
So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.
- John Bunyan
Better like Hector in the field to die.
Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
We who must live salute you who have found strength to die.
- Royal Cortissoz: Inscription in Memorial Hall, Yale University, 1915.
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
For even those who come short in other ways may justly plead the valor with which they have fought for their country.
Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and risked all that the sheltered and protected can never experience.
- John Stuart Mill
When duty whispers low, thou must, -- you must reply, I can.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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
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
For with slight efforts, how should one obtain great results? It is foolish even to desire it.
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