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Duty, Honor, Country: Reflections on the Highest Calling...





On November 11th, 2005 this message came from the Federalist's "Patriot Shop".  It is worth reading as important matters of our history are always worth reading.  I hope you will enjoy it.  Some things you may never have heard.  Thank you, Federalist for re minding us.  Visit the Patriot Shop: http://PatriotShop.US/

Today is Veterans Day.  It is appropriate that 11 November also commemorates the signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620.  (The Pilgrims gave their lives, too, for our liberty.  We recall that, although none died on the harrowing trip over the Atlantic Ocean, half of them died in the cruel coastal winter that followed.  Their steadfast courage and the wisdom to write the Mayflower Compact meant the beginning of this free nation. Ed)  That simple document, after all, is the taproot of a great nation; a shining beacon of liberty which owes its very existence to American veterans.... 

Since the American Revolution,... (many have died; many have been wounded in war) their sacrifices defended a most precious gift---a gift of liberty that we cherish to this day. 

On 11 November 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918---the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  This was President Warren Harding's request: "All... citizens... indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these... valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy... on our beloved country." 

Inscribed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are the words, "Here lies in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."  That day was known as Armistice Day until 1954, when Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to name it Veterans Day.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Commander in WWII, signed the legislation. 

To honor those Patriots of the ultimate sacrifice, an Army honor guard from the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) keeps a day-and-night vigil at Arlington.  At 11 a.m. today, a combined color guard representing all military service branches will execute "Present Arms" at the tomb.  The President will then lay a wreath.  This will be followed by "Taps".  It is a fitting place and a focal point to honor American veterans, but as General George S. Patton, Jr., reminded us, "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived."  Indeed. 

A Patton contemporary, General Douglas MacArthur, framed his farewell address before cadets at West Point around duty, honor, country: "Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.  They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn...  Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, honor, country." 

(Let us) remember the words of USMC Chaplain Dennis Edward O'Brian: "It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.  It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.  It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.  It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag." 

Every death of an American Patriot is a tragic loss---but... In the end, America stands proud and free because our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen have stood bravely in harm's way---then as now.  They were, and remain, better men.  For their steadfast devotion to duty, honor and country, we, the American People, offer our humble gratitude and heartfelt thanks. 

You may want to take one minute to sign an Open Letter in Support of America's Armed Forces (http://PatriotPetitions.US/USMIL).

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