Memorial Day, a day set aside for the purpose of honoring those that laid down their lives for this country, those that call it home and what it stands for.
After doing some research, I found I had a relative that was a major in the Continental Army in Ohio during the Revolutionary War. He is buried in Hamilton, Ohio, and was designated “A Hero of the Revolution.” I had a relative who was a colonel in the Confederate Army who commanded NC regiments at Picketts Charge. When Pettigrew was killed during the charge, he took command of the division and led them to the Union line where he was killed after telling his men, “Some of us won’t survive this day.” I had an uncle who joined the Navy right after Pearl Harbor and was assigned to the hospital in Manila, was captured at the fall of the Philippines, was a member of the Bataan Death March and placed on a “hell ship” with 1,100 other American POWs bound for what is now Taiwan, but because the Japanese did not mark the ship with a large “P” indicating prisoners of war were on board, the ship was attacked and sank by American submarines killing all but four men on board. My uncle was not one of the survivors.
While we veterans appreciate the kind words and the “Thank you for your service,” please, please, please remember that Memorial Day is for those that served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. We surviving veterans and active duty personnel remember them every day. All we ask is you go to a memorial near you and say those words to honor those that are no longer here. Then look around you and see what they willingly gave up their lives for and drop to one knee and say those words again.
On behalf of my relatives all the others that paid that price they reply, “You’re welcome”.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “A democracy, if you can keep it”
God rest their souls and God bless America.
United States Army
As a Brit, I am profoundly grateful for the sacrifice my forefathers made to defend my dear old country. At the time, it seemed like we had no chance against the military might of a unified and strong nation that had steamrollered every other country they took on.
And yet… and yet…. God gave us two things that saved us: the English Channel and the Royal Air Force. In order to knock out their only remaining enemy (for almost 2 years) the Germans knew they absolutely had to gain control of the skies, to effect any kind of invasion. And they had the planes and the manpower. We had Fairey Swordfish biplanes… until the very last minute when Hawker and Supermarine companies created the Hurricane and Spitfire.
They were aerodynamically superior to the German fighters, and – crucially – were much less costly to manufacture. The fuel injection system of the Messerschmitt 109 had more parts than an entire Spirfire. Those German fighter planes were superb, but costly.
Our lads were outnumbered by about 4 to 1. The Luftwaffe was massive. They not only had the manpower, skilled and war hardened, they had superior equipment too. Our boys were green… but brave. And they had – finally – good equipment (nod to Reginald Mitchell, dying of bowel cancel, but persevered in agony to complete the design of the Spitfire).
Incredibly, we won.
Or at least deprived the Luftwaffe command of the skies over England, which meant their invasion was impracticable.
And on that thin thread, World War Two was won. If Britain had fallen we would be living in a different World.
Those ballsy, scared, green fighter pilots of the RAF in 1940 saved the free World.
I am, like all others who love liberty, forever in their debt.
And that, Austin, is why the British military and the RAF in particular, are held in high regard by myself and a number of other history buffs like myself. Add to that the words from Churchill “We will never surrender…never surrender.”
Although many will say Memorial Day is a day dedicated to the fallen American military, I also think about those that fought with us regardless of country. The only thing is how ironic it is that we fought you Brits at the founding of our country and again in 1812, yet became strong allies and friends.
As I raise my glass to my fallen brothers and sisters, I will also toast those that have supported them when it was needed.
Thank you for your kind words.
We are natural allies. We are linked not only by shared values, but often by blood. I often peruse the names on gravestones here in NC when I drive by, and it’s clear that most North Carolinians are from the British Isles.
The Revolutionary War tore apart families in Britain, since many Brits (including MPs in the House of Commons) were sympathetic to the Americans. Even to this day, my father and I (both libertarian conservatives) only ever disagreed on this one issue. He felt the Americans ought to contribute financially after the British protected them in the Seven Years’ War (I think it’s called The French & Indian war here). I demur, and celebrate the ornery individualists of the US.
We are, of course, in the debt of those from whichever country, as they fought for our freedom.
I just hope we can retain our liberty. Only today we learned that Canada is going to essentially disarm its citizens.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed occasionally with the blood of patriots and tyrants” – Thomas Jefferson. We might be approaching such a juncture.