We recently commemorated Memorial Day in honor of our brave men and women who fought and died for our freedom.
As I watched the flags of each branch of our armed services hoisted and lowered to half-mast at the War Memorial at our local courthouse and listened to each theme song played for each one, I got cold chills as Taps was played for our fallen soldiers.
I was proud to be in the presence of those who are currently protecting our country as we recognized those who were present who had served in World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Gulf War, Grenada and the current Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
As I stood there in the light drizzle, I remembered my cousin who was shot out of a helicopter in Vietnam and gave his life for the country he loved. I thought about my dad who served four years, four months and 13 days during World War II.
Almost all the male members of my family were in the service at one time or another. Their service taught us early in life that our priorities should be God, family and country – in that order.
I was never called up for duty, but my draft status was 1-A during the Vietnam War. I only hope, if I had been called, I might have served as gallantly as those in uniform at our Memorial Day commemoration or those that have gone on before us that we paid homage to that day.
There is nothing we can do at any memorial service that can adequately express our gratitude for the men and women who gave their lives for our liberty.
There is no government program, no amount of money, no statues or no memorials that can show our appreciation for those who have been wounded or have given their life for our country, so that we may enjoy the freedom we have today.
We must make sure that we show our appreciation to them while they serve, take care of their families and take care of any needs they have when they return.
In the Bible, John 15:13 tells us “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Soldiers on the battlefront do this for us daily.
We cannot repay the commitment to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, but we can pray that God will protect those that are still in the field, risking their lives daily, so that we may live in peace.
Recently, at a restaurant in South Carolina, I picked up a card from a container on the table that contained the following lyrics (author unknown) and was titled: It is the Soldier.
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the right to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, not the pastor, who has given us the right to worship.
It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the protester the right to burn the flag.
William Shakespeare once wrote, “To thine own self, be true.” Our brave soldiers are true to themselves, true to their country and true to the cause of freedom.
On the beaches of Normandy in 1984, President Reagan addressed the “Boys of Pointe Du Hoc” and asked, “Why, why did you do it? What impels you to put aside the instinct of self-preservation? We look at you and we know the answer.”
On Memorial Day this year, you only had to look at our active duty soldiers and veterans to know the answer. There is pride and respect in everything they do.
On behalf of all we civilians, I want to thank all veterans for their service, commitment and sacrifice. Please know that there are many of us who continue to pray for all of our men and women in uniform, our veterans and all of their families.
We will never forget. May God bless all of our soldiers and may God bless the United States of America.
Dennis Powers is a conservative columnist and his columns are found in TheLaFollettePress.com,
OnTheRightTrackOnline.blogspot.com and BackyardPolitics.org. Send your comments to DennisHPowers@Comcast.net or mail them to POB 179, Jacksboro, TN 37757.