May 25 2013

Memorial Day, 2013

Charlotte Hays

“It was not the Declaration of Independence that gave us freedom but the Continental Army,” writes a member of a SEAL team who served in Ramadi this morning in the Wall Street Journal.

Since it’s behind the pay wall, I want to celebrate Memorial Day by quoting from this wonderful piece:

Combat is hard. It is alarmingly violent, ear-shattering, dirty, exhausting and ugly. It is marked by chaos and confusion and self-doubt. But combat also highlights the determination and sacrifice—and courage—of those who persevere. Through such times, an unbreakable bond is formed with brothers-in-arms….

Let’s remember on Memorial Day—and every other day, for that matter—that America did not become a nation without a fight. Last week, I found myself in Washington, D.C., admiring a bronze statue of George Washington. The statue shows him as a general, astride a horse, sword drawn at the ready. This was Washington as a true American leader, inspiring those around him by showing that he too was willing to risk death for the cause of victory. The statue brought to mind the thousands of soldiers who marched with him into battle against the British, facing seemingly impossible odds.

It was not the Declaration of Independence that gave us freedom but the Continental Army. America was born from conflict, delivered by soldiers willing to pay with their blood the tremendous cost of freedom.

The dead did not wish to be martyred. They no doubt longed to return to their homes and families. But they believed in the “glorious cause,” something far greater than themselves. Despite knowing the dangers before them, they followed Gen. Washington into the fray even when victory seemed hopeless and the cause all but lost.

America has been blessed by men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom.

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