Charley Presents Friday’s Edition Of ‘Vickie’s Corner’ – Gather Around Their Sacred Remains
Memorial Day marks the beginning of Summer, camping and the tasty BBQ season. But it should be a stark reminder to us all that Memorial Day is not about camping and BBQ's at all; it's a time to reflect on those who sacrificed their lives so that we may have the freedom we have to do all these things this weekend. As we enjoy our freedom this week, let's all take a moment to remember those soldiers who are not with us.
Gather Around Their Sacred Remains
In the news are reports that claim Memorial Day celebrations will suffer because of Sequestration cuts, citing denial of requests for flyovers and military color guards that allegedly operate with government funding. There is no mention that government operates courtesy of tax payer funding but who are we the people to quibble over such trivialities?
Memorial Day is not about government so the solution is to turn a deaf ear to government entities who seek to pervert the purpose of the day with shameless self-promotion.
Anyone who understands the significance of Memorial Day knows to limit support of patriotic celebrations is an in-eloquent statement of complete and utter disrespect by the powers that be for anything that buoys the spirit of the American people.
Honoring our legacy of freedom by respecting the service and sacrifice of military veterans does not require government dollars. Sure, we will be thankful for troops, guardsmen, military bands, color guards and flyovers if we can get them but politicians do not own this day by rule or writ or rhetoric. Grieving hearts and respectful sentiment own this day. People of all ages and from all walks of life will gather across the land in common purpose and reverence – all without the bidding and benevolence of government.
Trust this. Flags will wave. Bands will play. Bells will toll. The Star Spangled Banner will ring out across the land. Heads will dip in remembrance and respect as the names of the fallen are called.
The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Wall arrived in Fort Collins earlier this week escorted by local law enforcement, motorcycle clubs and independent bikers, many of them veterans, all of them patriotic to the core. The procession was greeted with flags and applause and cheers. I spoke with a young man as we watched the escort roll by and sadly noted in my mind as I explained the significance of it that he had no idea what it was all about.
The Wall did not get here by bureaucratic edict. Rather it is here compliments of local businesses and individuals who donated time and hard-earned money as well as labor and materials to make it happen. They are the best among us and deserve our patronage.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude; the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan - General John A. Logan in his General Order No. 11 of May 5th, 1868, Decoration Day
As freeborn children we should spend this day in celebration and do so out of respect for the sacrifices made by generations of soldiers who have paid and continue to pay the ultimate price on our behalf. We should celebrate with a proud eye on the flag and lend an attentive ear to the families and friends of those who have fallen in the service of our country. We should stand in silent support beside a friend who once again grapples with the fact that they made it home alive while others did not. Lest we forget, we should pay our respects to veterans past and present in our own families.
We cannot let ourselves be blind or deaf to the sacrifice of increasingly unsung valor. We cannot become so immured to the reality and violence of war that we fail to respect the soldier's reality - those brave souls who defend and protect and serve. We cannot harden our sensibilities so that we do not see the pain of sacrifice in a mother’s eye or the bewilderment in the expressions of widows and orphans. Let our hearts not be so jaded that we cannot feel the loss of a single one of our brave.
Let us celebrate being American. Let us raise our flags high... let us raise our hands in salute... let us raise our voices in patriotic tribute... let us raise our heads in pride of country. Let us teach our children an appreciation for the veteran elders among us and guide them on the path that preserves freedom and liberty, justice and independence for all time. Let us do these things in celebration of diversified unity. United We Stand is not merely an old catch phrase - it is a call to duty. It is our duty, one we should impart with diligence to younger generations. It is a duty we should demand of anyone standing on our free and bloodied soil.
As we celebrate Memorial Day like we do so many holidays in the good ol' USA -- with picnics and beer, car races and concerts, flags and fireworks, motorcycle rides and mountain drives, let us pause in the revelry with grateful hearts and rejoice that we live in the land of the free. Let us renew our allegiance to the ideal that is the United States of America.
Finally - let us look our living veterans in the eye, acknowledge their service – tip a hat, shake a hand, hug a neck and keep in mind what Samuel Adams once said, “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” Every day we wake in a free and civilized country is a reason to be grateful for those who have done the hard work and we can take comfort in the fact that they would all do it again.
Every day should be Memorial Day in the USA.
Vickie Downing is a geographically challenged Texan now living in Fort Collins – She loves books and rides on the Harley. Her support for our Veterans and the Military goes above and beyond and she bleeds red-white and blue everyday. Check back next week for another topical view of the world today.