Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day 2021
Image: WJW video screen grab

There is much strife and contention in the land, and many reasons – plenty of them reasonable – for the people to criticize each other.

A couple of videos may serve as a reminder of why there are times and occasions to step away from the fray and just focus on something else.

Memorial Day is such a time.  On Memorial Day, we commemorate those who died in battle for our nation.  From the Revolutionary War to the Mesopotamian plain of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, from the farmers’ fields in our own Civil War to the remotest parts of Southeast Asia and Africa, from the skies above us to the deepest oceans, our servicemen and women who have fought and died are remembered.

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“We will never forget.”

A wonderful video on social media on Sunday was, for me, a compelling reminder of what they died for.

Our founding principles, our documents, our successes, our painful lessons and sometimes wrenching power as a nation – all are important.  When we learn, the whole world learns with us.  If we fail, many fall.  Where we succeed, many are blessed.

But the video making the rounds on Sunday is just about a homely American moment.  It’s one that’s true, honest, and good.  In the time we inhabit, there are some people who would say this isn’t the real America.  But my spirit says it is.

This.  This is what they gave all for, those soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and women.

In his 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields,” Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, serving with the Commonwealth forces in Belgium, ended with this appeal:

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Regular readers know I’ve alluded often to this poem on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  I quote it today because those ordinary Americans, fearless children and chuckling bikers, instant neighbors on a street so average it could be almost anywhere across our land, are the torch held high.  It’s no more complicated than that.

The second video is from the U.S. Naval Academy band and funeral detail.  It honors our fallen countrymen and women with a commemoration of the extraordinary flag they served under: the emblem of an extraordinary nation and her people.

Here is a 21-gun salute for those heroes passed away, most who came home not with their shields but on them, and some who have yet to make the final journey home.

May they – shipmates of all services, and all times and places – rest in peace: until the sea shall give up her dead, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things shall have passed away.  (From Revelation 20:13 and 21:4)

May God, who has blessed us with their service, continue to bless America, and may we be worthy to be His people.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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