The Patriot Post Brief
“Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” –John Adams
Col. Tom Manion, USMCR (Ret.), wrote in The Wall Street Journal about the remarkable men and women in uniform and what they give for our great nation. He should know — his son gave his life in Iraq in 2007.
“I served in the military for 30 years. But it was impossible to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families until April 29, 2007, the day my son, First Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq.
“Travis was just 26 years old when an enemy sniper’s bullet pierced his heart after he had just helped save two wounded comrades. …
“While my son’s life was relatively short, I spend every day marveling at his courage and wisdom. Before his second and final combat deployment, Travis said he wanted to go back to Iraq in order to spare a less-experienced Marine from going in his place. His words — ‘If not me, then who…’ — continue to inspire me.
“My son is one of thousands to die in combat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. …
“When my son died in Iraq, his U.S. Naval Academy roommate, Brendan Looney, was in the middle of BUD/S (basic underwater demolition) training to become a Navy SEAL. Devastated by his good friend’s death, Brendan called us in anguish, telling my wife and me that losing Travis was too much for him to handle during the grueling training regimen.
“Lt. Brendan Looney overcame his grief to become ‘Honor Man’ of his SEAL class, and he served in Iraq before later deploying to Afghanistan. On Sept. 21, 2010, after completing 58 combat missions, Brendan died with eight fellow warriors when their helicopter crashed in Zabul province. He was 29. Brendan and Travis now rest side-by-side in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. …
“Even after more than a decade of war, these remarkable men and women are still stepping forward. As the father of a fallen Marine, I hope Americans will treat this Memorial Day as more than a time for pools to open, for barbecues or for a holiday from work. It should be a solemn day to remember heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, and also a stark reminder that our country is still at war.”
For the Record
Former Lt. Col. Oliver North, USMC, wrote of Memorial Day:
“As a crowd of high-school students offloaded from the tour bus for a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial aka ‘The Wall,’ he yelled, ‘There are no good wars!’ … He held a sheet of cardboard, hand-inscribed with the words ‘I’m the 99 percent’ on one side and ‘Help me, I’m Homeless’ on the other. …
“‘The Wall’ is like that. The V-shaped black granite panels with 58,282 names inscribed upon them attract visitors like no other place in our nation’s capital. …
“[T]his year, our countrymen who pause from travel, shopping, sporting events and auto races on the last Monday in May will see a very different observance: the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War.
“For the 2.7 million Americans who fought for our nation in Southeast Asia, the Gold Star families who lost loved ones there and those who still yearn to know what happened to the 1,350 who still are unaccounted for, Monday’s ceremony is a long-awaited requital for unacknowledged sacrifice. It’s an overdue but welcome event.
“What is less certain is whether this commemoration finally can bring closure to the most polarizing armed conflict for Americans since the Civil War. Will it end the false mythology of the Vietnam vet as a pothead marauder, a homeless, unemployed dropout who couldn’t fit in after coming home?
“The Occupy protester I confronted on my way to ‘The Wall’ this week probably won’t be convinced by this single ceremony. It’s unlikely he ever will grasp the innate decency, unstinting perseverance, quiet courage and true humility of those whose names are engraved on those black granite panels. There are no good wars. But there are good warriors. …
“Like most Vietnam War veterans, they still are giving more than they ever asked in return. They aren’t dropouts. They are American heroes — and I’m blessed to call them friends.”
In Honor of Fallen Patriots
Don’t miss Mark Alexander’s essay on Memorial Day and what it really means.
Also, please view our Patriot Memorial Day Tributes.
Memorial Day Challenge
“They fought together as brothers-in-arms, they died together, and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation.” –Chester Nimitz
“They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast, and their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset telling our children and our children’s children what is was once like in the United States where men were free.” –Ronald Reagan
“We pause this day in America to remember our fallen heroes, the men and women who answered the call of freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Let us remember and thank them for the nights they slept freezing in a tent or sweating in the desert, for the lonely days they spent fighting boredom and missing loved ones, for the hours they spent sick in pain from battle and without someone holding their hand other than their fellow soldiers, for the moments of sheer fright in the heat of battle, for the wounds suffered fighting evil, for the endless days in hospitals undergoing painful surgeries, for the precious occasions missed at home with family and friends. For all of these sacrifices, we need to thank them on behalf of millions of Americans who are so grateful. We truly appreciate their dedication to duty. … May their legacy be honored for generations to come, may the tears shed over their coffins fertilize the fields of patriotism in our nation. The new generations to come must be built on strength, duty, honor and country, willing and able to follow in their Warrior footsteps when duty calls to defend America. May their blood not have been shed in vain. May we prove worthy of their sacrifice.” —Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely U.S. Army (Ret.)
A Final Note From the Publisher
On Wednesday of last week, I heard from our longtime, and very devoted editor, David Weed, that he would be out of the publishing loop for Thursday and Friday with “medical issues.” On Friday afternoon, I heard from his lovely wife Karen that David has departed this life for the next. David was faithful in his service right to the end, and his absence will leave a large hole in the quality of our Patriot prose.
David was our token Yankee curmudgeon — yes we have a few other Yankees on the team but not as curmudgeonly as David. It would be difficult to find the right adjectives to describe his unique “wit and charm” without the benefit of a very unabridged dictionary!
I thank God for his life and the part of it he so generously donated to advance Liberty by way of The Patriot Post. David was a brother and a Patriot, and his legacy has been quietly etched in the hearts and minds of his Patriot brothers and sisters across the nation. I would only ask your prayers for his wife, Karen.
(Please pray for our Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families — especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)
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