D-Day, also called the Battle of Normandy, was fought on June 6, 1944, between the Allied nations and German forces occupying Western Europe. To this day, 70 years later, it still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history. Almost three million troops crossed the English Channel from England to Normandy to be used as human cannon fodder in an invasion of occupied France.
Among the young men who stepped off those boats, in a hail of gunfire, was a fellow named Edward, whom everyone called Ned, from the small town of Helena, Arkansas. Already in his young life, Ned had been forced to drop out of school in the sixth grade, in order to work at the local movie theatre to help support his mother, brother, and sister, faced with the ravages of the Great Depression.
He was a gentle man who loved to laugh and sing, having recorded several 78 rpm records in the do-it-yourself booths of the day. And now, he found himself, a Master Sergeant in an Army Engineering Unit, stepping off a boat into the unknown, watching his comrades being mercilessly gunned down around him.
Ned, along with the rest of his unit who survived the initial assault, would go on to assist in the cleaning out of the Concentration Camps, bearing witness to man’s inhumanity to man.
The horrors he saw had a profound effect on Ned. One which he would keep to himself for the remainder of his life. While his children knew that he served with an Engineering Unit in World War II, they did not know the full extent of his service, until they found his medal, honoring his participation in the Invasion of Normandy, going through his belongings, after he passed away on December 29, 1997.
Today is a day of solemn remembrance, during which we honor our fallen heroes.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
This Day of Remembrance, honoring the sacrifices of our Brightest and Best and the current mistreatment of America’s Veterans is very personal to me.
On a night in 1966, a 7 year old was laying on his family’s den couch in Memphis, TN, watching his favorite TV Series “Batman” with a fever of 105, brought about by a severe bronchial infection. Tending to that sick child were 3 veterans of World War II: his Daddy, a Master Sergeant with the Army Engineers, his Uncle “R” (Robert), US Air Force, and his Uncle Perriman, a full-blooded Indian from Albuquerque, who was an Army Corpsman.
Those three veterans, now all gone, took turns putting cold washcloths under the child’s arms and on his forehead, until his fever finally broke, sometime during the night.
That child was me.
Growing up during the Vietnam War, I was privileged to have a brother-in-law who served in the Navy. I also knew a fella who served in the Army, a friend of my older sister’s, who stayed on our couch during high school often, after fighting with his family. And, I had a cousin who served then, as well.
Today, in America, our Brightest and Best are being callously mistreated by an incompetent authoritarian centralized bureaucracy. One whose cavalier attitude toward them as being simply pawns, to be used to give their lives for a failed Foreign Policy and the morale-weakening Social Experimentation of Barack Hussein Obama and his Progressive Minions, lead to our veterans dying, while they waited for the Medical Treatment, which they had been promised and so richly deserve.
For all of his photo ops and posing for the cameras, United States President Barack Hussein Obama viewed our armed forces as beneath him… assets to use when he needed to, in order to backup his failed foreign policy, and an ancillary service to trim, when it was time to cut the budget.
Obama’s actions were in stark contrast to our previous president, George W Bush, who, every year at Thanksgiving, would go and serve Turkey to troops stationed around the world, during secret trips that Main Stream Media would not even know about until the president landed at the base.
And, when Bush wasn’t doing that, he was secretly visiting our wounded warriors at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, again, out of the limelight of the cameras.
Even though Bush is no longer president, he is still showing his respect for our wounded warriors. He has held picnics in their honor, visiting with them and dancing with our brave young ladies who were wounded in the service of their country.
But, I digress…
The actions of Obama and his Administration were not how a nation is supposed its wounded warriors.
I thank God that we have an American President, once again, who respects and honors our Fighting Men and Women.
These men and women are OUR FAMILY. They are not just numbers on some Federal Government Profit & Loss Database.
President Trump must fulfill his campaign promises to clean up the Department of Veterans Affairs and the malfeasance and abuses found within its hospitals.
Those who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve no less.
It is today that we pause to remember their sacrifices at home and abroad. Not only theirs, but the sacrifices made by our Brightest and Best, and their families, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
May God bless them all and may He hold them in the hollow of His hand.
Until He Comes,