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MEMORIAL DAY REMEMBERED
By Geoff Metcalf
May 25, 2003
Memorial Day is a day to honor those American servicemen we paid the ultimate price for our liberty and freedom.
I have often quoted "The Warrior Creed" of the late Dr. Robert Humphrey as crystallized by Jack Hoban:
Few of those remembered this day ever heard of Dr. Humphrey or Jack Hoban, but in ways subtle and stark they lived that creed.
I have written about Memorial Day at least three specific times I can recall:
May 1999 http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/ wndarchive/19545.html
May 2001 http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/ wndarchive/22993.html
May 2002 http://www.newsmax.com/ archives/articles/2002/5/28/35951.shtml
For many Memorial Day is a day off work. It is a day for picnics, family gatherings, recreating and exploiting ubiquitous sales promotions. Those activities are not bad but should not overshadow the somber essence of the day.
Especially today as we have troops returning from 'Operation Iraqi Freedom', and others still deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet others engaged in the very real missions designed to prevent, and respond to terrorist threats, please take a moment (however brief) to recognize the essence and reason for this holiday.
For some of us this day is personal. Metcalf's have been warriors (in and out of uniform) since before William the Conqueror.
The tools/assets that politicians use for partisan positioning advantage are flesh and blood assets. These assets are men and women who have sworn a sacred oath to "defend and protect" and are prepared to give their lives in defense of the republic. The Code of Conduct states, "I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces that guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in its defense." The troops deserve better than they get, and if those of us who have worn a uniform do not insist the military is given significant reason, and just cause for spending a young life ... who will?
As a young second lieutenant at Fort Benning in the early '70s, I remember driving on post in the early evening. A cannon would announce the striking of the colors and everyone on post would stop. Cars would stop and drivers would get out, face toward Infantry Hall and (if in uniform) salute until the music faded. Kids would stop playing baseball and stand quietly with their hands on their hearts until the flag was lowered and then life would resume.
Those brief daily moments of respect, courtesy and honor were routine but very special. I often wonder if those same simple but important things happen today. I hope so.
Prior to our most recent military victories President George W. Bush observed, "America has been given so much, but of all our assets, resources and strengths, none have counted for more than the courage of young soldiers in the face of battle."
"We are in their debt - more than a lifetime of Memorial Days could ever repay," he said. "With their sacrifice comes a duty that will go on through the generations to honor them in our thoughts, in our words and in our lives."
For some of us Memorial Day is about remembering friends and family who have served in uniform - both those who survived and those who did not. They paid a price measured in time, separation, conflict, immeasurable fear, blood and death so that their families (YOUR families) and countrymen might enjoy freedom and liberty. Their sacrifice was not form over substance but rather substance to support form. Duty, Honor and Country are not just words to those who have served.
Today is Memorial Day. Please take a moment to at least acknowledge and remember that better men and women than us have bought us the luxury of freedom and liberty with their blood and sacrificed their futures for future generations. It is right and just that we acknowledge that. And while you're at it, please tell any veteran you might encounter, "Thanks for your service."
I once had occasion to speak to a group of newly commissioned officers from a college ROTC program. I told those young officers, DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY is not just words. They are a gift that will be part of you regardless of whether you become a career officer and command a Ranger Regiment, or serve in the Reserve Components as a weekend warrior. We who have taken the oath are ALL warriors.
Charles M. Province wrote a poem called "The Soldier."
� 2003 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. . Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book! E-mail: email@example.com
"Especially today as we have troops returning from 'Operation Iraqi Freedom', and others still deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet others engaged in the very real missions designed to prevent, and respond to terrorist threats, please take a moment (however brief) to recognize the essence and reason for this holiday."