Woohoo! It’s Memorial Day — a three-day weekend for barbecues, pizzas, playing games, and avoiding mowing the lawn. But while you are enjoying this time, stop and remember those Americans who have fallen in military service. It is their sacrifice that has preserved us as a nation and made this day of shopping and drinking possible.

And yet we ask very little for those who fall. Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was asked how he felt as a representative of a country seen by many as the Satan of contemporary politics:

So, far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people.

And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, “Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us”? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are. So, far from being the Satan, I think we are the protector of a universal value system that more and more people are recognizing as the correct value system: democracy, economic freedom, the individual rights of men and women to pursue their own destiny. That’s what we stand for, and that’s what we try to help other countries achieve as well. [emphasis mine - CM]

Bill Whittle echoes this characteristic of America: our ability to fight, conquer, and then leave as seen at the end of World War II:

History has never, and will never, record a time when such unchallenged power existed in the hands of a nation, nor of a time when opposing forces were so weak and in such a state of disarray and abject surrender.

And these feared and ruthless Americans, a people who had incinerated cities in Europe and Japan and whose ferocity and tenacity on island jungles and French beaches had brought fanatical warrior cultures to their knees – what did these new conquerors of the world do?

They went home is what they did. They did pause for a few years to rebuild the nations sworn to their destruction and the murder of their people. They carbon-copied their own system of government and enforced it on their most bitterly hated enemy, a people who have since given so much back to the world as a result of this generosity. They left troops in and sent huge sums of money to Europe to rebuild what they all knew would eventually become trading partners, but also determined competitors. Then they sent huge steel blades through their hard-earned fleets of ships and airplanes and came home to get on with their lives in peace and quiet. [emphasis Bill's - CM]

Remember this day those who have fallen in our service, and thank anyone you see in uniform, for they are putting their lives on the line for your freedom and peace.

Memorial Day 2007

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