Memorial Day 2018: “Freedom Is Not Free”

memorial-day-cemetery

Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it. – Pete Hegseth

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, 74 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 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.

Recently, 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, led to our veterans dying, while they waited for the Medical Treatment, which they had been promised and so richly deserved.

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.

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

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,

KJ

Memorial Day 2017: “Greater Love Hath No Man Than This…”

memorial-day-true-meaning-ftr

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.

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

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,

KJ

Memorial Day 2016: All Gave Some. Some Gave All.

11181888_951956908181692_5591918853436467361_nD-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, has lead to our veterans dying, while they wait for the Medical Treatment, which they have been promised and so richly deserve.

For all of his photo ops and posing for the cameras, United States President Barack Hussein Obama views our armed forces as beneath him… assets to use what he needs to, in order to backup his failed foreign policy, and an ancillary service to trim, when it’s time to cut the budget.

Obama’s actions are 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 are not how a nation honors its wounded warriors. The previous Administration certainly did not treat our heroes in this manner.

The men and women are OUR FAMILY. They are not just numbers on some Federal Government Profit & Loss Database.

This barbarism lies solely at the feet of President Barack Hussein Obama. He is the Commander-in-Chief. HE MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.

Those who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve no less.

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

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.

May God bless them all and may He hold them in the hollow of His hand.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Thanksgiving 2015: A Country In Debt To Our Creator

Thanksgiving2013Thanksgiving Day.

Simply saying the words to myself brings back a flood of precious memories…memories of Thanksgivings past, as a child, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, my sisters, and my Mother and Daddy…smells of sage dressing and oven-roasted turkey..followed by the feeling of having an over-stuffed stomach…all topped by the sounds of laughter and the sight of my aunts and uncles, all members of America’s Greatest Generation, being led in a penny-ante poker game after the Thanksgiving meal by my Daddy, the finest man I have ever known…all of them enjoying each other’s company as they reveled in the wonderful completeness of being a family.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American Holiday…as unique as the nation which celebrates it.

In 1621, a small group of Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast celebrating the autumn harvest. This is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

However, Thanksgiving is much more than this.

Thanksgiving is a day when Americans thank their Creator for the blessings they have received during the year, while holding hope and expectation in their hearts for the blessings yet to come.

The Father of Our Country expressed his thankfulness concerning God and America, when he announced this holiday in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. – United States President George Washington.

On October 3, 1863, in the middle of the darkness and strife of a Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the following…

By the President of the United States

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. 

Abraham Lincoln

The intestinal fortitude that is our heritage as Americans…along with that still, small voice which still resides in each and every one of us, will continue, I pray, to guide our nation, and spur us on, to stay vigilant and protect our American Freedom, just as my Parents’ Generation did, against the Axis of Evil.

This Thanksgiving Day 2015, I’m thankful for Americans who are still making a difference.  Americans who still love God and country, and stand on principle with their feet planted on a Solid Rock, and not on shifting sands.

They are the reason we remain, in spite of all that has befallen us in the last 7 years, the greatest country on Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

Memorial Day 2015: All Gave Some. Some Gave All.

11181888_951956908181692_5591918853436467361_nD-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. 

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, has lead to our veterans dying, while they wait for the Medical Treatment, which they have been promised and so richly deserve.

This Day of Remembrance and the mistreatment of our Brightest and Best 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.

This is not how a nation honors its wounded warriors. The previous Administration certainly did not.

The men and women are OUR FAMILY.They are not just numbers on some Federal Government Profit & Loss Database.

This barbarism lies solely at the feet of President Barack Hussein Obama. He is the Commander-in-Chief. HE MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.

Those who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve no less.

This matter is very personal to me.

 

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

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.

May God bless them all and may He hold them in the hollow of His hand.

Thanksgiving 2014: A Country In Debt To Our Creator

Thanksgiving2013Thanksgiving Day.

Simply saying the words to myself brings back a flood of precious memories…memories of Thanksgivings past, as a child, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, my sisters, and my Mother and Daddy…smells of sage dressing and oven-roasted turkey..followed by the feeling of having an over-stuffed stomach…all topped by the sounds of laughter and the sight of my aunts and uncles, all members of America’s Greatest Generation, being led in a penny-ante poker game after the Thanksgiving meal by my Daddy, the finest man I have ever known…all of them enjoying each other’s company as they reveled in the wonderful completeness of being a family.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American Holiday…as unique as the nation which celebrates it.

In 1621, a small group of Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast celebrating the autumn harvest. This is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

However, Thanksgiving is much more than this.

Thanksgiving is a day when Americans thank their Creator for the blessings they have received during the year, while holding hope and expectation in their hearts for the blessings yet to come.

The Father of Our Country expressed his thankfulness concerning God and America, when he announced this holiday in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. – United States President George Washington.

On October 3, 1863, in the middle of the darkness and strife of a Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the following…

By the President of the United States

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. 

Abraham Lincoln

The intestinal fortitude that is our heritage as Americans…along with that still, small voice which still resides in each and every one of us, will continue, I pray, to guide our nation, and spur us on, to stay vigilant and protect our American Freedom, just as my Parents’ Generation did, against the Axis of Evil.

This Thanksgiving Day 2014, I’m thankful for Americans who are still making a difference.  Americans who still love God and country, and stand on principle with their feet planted on a Solid Rock, and not on shifting sands.

They are the reason we remain, in spite of all that has befallen us in the last 6 years, the greatest country on Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

Memorial Day 2014: Remembering Our Brightest and Best

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.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

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, has lead to our veterans dying, while they wait for the Medical Treatment, which they have been promised and so richly deserve.

This is not how a nation honors its wounded warriors. The previous Administration certainly did not.

The men and women are OUR FAMILY.They are not just numbers on some Federal Government Profit & Loss Database.

This barbarism lies solely at the feet of President Barack Hussein Obama. He is the Commander-in-Chief. HE MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.

Those who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve no less.

This matter 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.

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

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.

May God bless them all and may He hold them in the hollow of His hand.

Mother’s Day 2014: Thanks For Life, Mother

mothersdayOn this Mothers Day, the report comes out from a National Meeting in my Hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, that some members of the Grand Old Party don’t particularly care whether others have the opportunity to live or not.

The Washington Times reported Friday that

Gay marriage and abortion, divisive issues within the Republican party, have flared again at the RNC’s meeting here, with Nevada’s delegation firing back at criticism of its April decision to remove anti-abortion and anti-gay language from its state platform.

Angered by an email from Oklahoma Republican National Committee member Carolyn McLarty that questioned its loyalty to the national party, the Nevada delegation sent a stinging rebuke to the 168-member national committee.

“The removal of two social issues from our platform does not mean that ‘we’ as individual people are ‘for’ gay marriage or ‘for’ abortion,” the email said. “The removal of these planks recognizes the inappropriateness of the existence of these planks in our platform in the first place.”

“We disagree with Committeewoman McLarty where she said ‘They are symptoms of the infiltration of the Republican Party by those who really want to destroy it,’ ” it said.

The delegation also took issue with Mrs. McLarty, an evangelical Protestant and staunch opponent of abortion, calling its action an “attack on God and family.”

“We are insulted by this accusation. Most of our delegates have deep spiritual beliefs,” the Nevada email said.

Grass-roots Republicans themselves are divided over whether abortion should be banned nationally by a constitutional amendment or whether it’s a matter of states’ discretion.

Some respected veteran RNC members were not pleased with the Nevada action on abortion – in part because there is widespread agreement among RNC members that the Democratic party is the party sympathetic to abortion and the GOP has differentiated itself as the “pro-life” party – and because many RNC members are dedicated opponents of what they regard as “murder of the unborn.”

“The Nevada RNC member reported to her fellow RNC western region committee members the platform was ‘shortened “to benefit voters and candidates,’” Arizona RNC member Bruce Ash told The Washington Times.

“I raise the question of whether the Nevada GOP was exercising wise judgment by doing so as well as why these were the best to select,” Mr. Ash said.

But many Republicans agree the GOP must preserve its coalition of voters with disparate views.

I was “reared” (as we say in Dixie) by a Mother and Daddy (Southern colloquialism for a Male Parental Unit) who were members of the Greatest Generation. In fact, I was born 3 days before my mother’s 40th brithday. To this day, I believe that they were going to name me “Oops”.

My mother, like many Middle Class Southern Ladies, after World War II, was ahead of her time. Both her and My Daddy worked 20 years for Sears and Roebuck. And yet, she still had time to cook our meals, and be a single parent to me on those nights when my Daddy worked the late shift and had to help close up, and those Saturdays, when he had to work.

My mother was born in Dyersburg, TN, one of 7 children of a barber (5 girls and two boys). She and my Daddy both lived through the Great Depression and worked hard to make sure that my sisters and I had a good life.

Mother was very strict on us, pushing us to excel. My late step-sister, the oldest, took piano lessons for several years, and played beautifully. My older sister also played piano, acted in school plays, and sang in choirs. She too has been a hard-working mother, working full-time and raising two wonderful children, who are now grown.

My Mother was a strict disciplinarian, always pushing me to do better. If I brought home a “B”, she would tell me I should have gotten a “A”. Because of her, I wound up graduating high school 30th in a class of 360, with a GPA of 3.54.

My view of the world around me was shaped and nurtured by her and my Daddy, a Christian American, and the finest man I’ve ever known, who served with an Army Engineering Unit, as a Master Sergeant, in World War II, and who jumped off of a perfectly good boat into a hail of gunfire to join his American Brothers in the tide-turning American Victory known as “D-Day”.

My Mother and Daddy taught me what it was to be a hard-working, Middle Class Christian American Conservative….and, to be proud of it.

Now, on Mothers day, as I look at this totally messed-up popular culture around me, brought to us by the “Me, First!” Generation, I thank God that my Mother gave me the Gift of Life and did not take the “easy way out” at 40 years of age.

If Liberals, on both sides of the aisle, (because you cannot claim Conservatism, if you want to kill babies) would only perform a self-assessment, and come to the realization that the life inside a human mother’s womb, is in fact, a HUMAN BEING, and not “a bunch of cells,”, “a parasitic life form”, or “an inconvenience”, then abortion would go the way of the rotary telephone.

Unfortunately, though, when you have a president whose first act, upon obtaining the office, was to authorize American Taxpayers’ money be sent to abortion clinics around the world, and who said,

Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information,

that probably is not going to happen anytime soon.

However, we can still pray for our nation’s unborn. And, keep fighting the good fight!

In conclusion, I ask you to thank your mother , on this Mothers Day, for the very first, and most important gift, which she ever gave you:

The Gift of Life.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Thanksgiving 2013: The Anchor Holds.

Thanksgiving2013Thanksgiving Day.

Simply saying the words to myself brings back a flood of precious memories…memories of Thanksgivings past, as a child, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, my sisters, and my Mother and Daddy…smells of sage dressing and oven-roasted turkey..followed by the feeling of having an over-stuffed stomach…all topped by the sounds of laughter and the sight of my aunts and uncles, all members of America’s Greatest Generation, being led in a penny-ante poker game after the Thanksgiving meal by my Daddy, the finest man I have ever known…all of them enjoying each other’s company as they reveled in the wonderful completeness of being a family.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American Holiday…as unique as the nation which celebrates it.

In 1621, a small group of Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast celebrating the autumn harvest. This is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

However, Thanksgiving is much more than this.

Thanksgiving is a day when Americans thank their Creator for the blessings they have received during the year, while holding hope and expetation in their hearts for the blessings yet to come.

The Father of Our Country expressed his thankfulness concerning God and America, when he announced this holiday in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. – United States President George Washington.

On October 3, 1863, in the middle of the darkness and strife of a Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the following…

By the President of the United States

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. 

Abraham Lincoln

The intestinal fortitude that is our heritage as Americans…along with that still, small voice which still resides in each and every one of us, will continue, I pray, to guide our nation, and spur us on, to stay vigilant and protect our American Freedom, just as my Parents’ Generation did, against the Axis of Evil.

This Thanksgiving Day 2013, I’m thankful for Americans who are still making a difference.  Americans who still love God and country, and stand on principle with their feet planted on a Solid Rock, and not on shifting sands.

They are the reason we remain, in spite of all that has befallen us in the last 5 years, the greatest country on Earth.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

Memorial Day 2013: Honoring Our Brightest and Best

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.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

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 Word 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.

I was privileged to be raised by members of the Greatest Generation. The legacy that they gave to me of love of God, Family, and Country is a heritage that I hold very dear.

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.

May God bless them all and may He hold them in the hollow of His hand.