by David Sisler

When a member of America’s armed forces dies, protecting those of us who remain behind in our pampered comfort, it is always a sad day. How trite that sounds, to try to express the emotions of the ultimate sacrifice.

But in recent days the memories of those who have given “the last full measure of devotion” have been darkened by other news.

One of America’s heroes, Pat Tillman, who gave up a multi-million dollar football career, and ultimately his life, to serve America, was probably killed by “friendly fire.”

The ongoing degradation of every member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard by a press determined to lump all who serve with the few who committed atrocities at Abu Ghraib.

In the midst of all of that, yesterday America remembered all of our honored military dead.

President George W. Bush issued the following proclamation (which was barely noted by the media – the first place I found it was on the Pakistan News Service):

“For more than two centuries, Americans have been called to defend the founding ideals of our democracy. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation remembers the proud patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty's blessings.

“From the opening battles of the American Revolution through the turmoil of the Civil War, to World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to the Persian Gulf and today's operations in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, the members of our military have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service. As we observe Memorial Day, we remember the more than one million Americans who have died to preserve our freedom, the more than 140,000 citizens who were prisoners of war, and all those who were declared missing in action. We also honor our veterans for their dedication to America and their sacrifice.

“This year, we honor many heroes by observing the 60th anniversary of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy, and by dedicating the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. In a radio address on June 6, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt described these service members as the "pride of our Nation," who struggled to preserve our civilization. The fallen from that fateful day and that war will always be remembered. They hold a cherished place in the history of the United States and in the memories of the people they liberated.

“Today, all who wear the uniform of the United States are serving at a crucial hour in history, and each has answered a great call to serve our Nation on the front lines of freedom. As we continue to fight terrorism and promote peace and freedom, let us pray for the safety and strength of our troops, for God's blessing on them and their families, and for those who have lost loved ones.

“On this Memorial Day, we honor all of our fallen soldiers, their commitment to our country, and their legacy of patriotism and sacrifice. By giving their lives in the cause of freedom, these heroes have protected and inspired all Americans.”

America’s soldiers are not honored by NASCAR races, by backyard cook-outs, or by special sales at the shopping mall. Enjoy all of them, but next year, just for one minute (and if you read the entire proclamation you know that is all President Bush asked for) stop and honor their memory, honor their sacrifice, give thanks for what they did for you.

To the fallen: this writer salutes you. And honors your memory with heart-felt thanks. Your blood protected me.

And a soul-felt thanks to Jesus Christ. Your blood saved me.


Copyright 2004 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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