Today is Memorial Day and a lot of people will have a day off and many of them will stop to consider the well earned praise of heroes. We all have someone we admire in uniform from some war in the past or perhaps one of our recent wars, someone whose bravery is an example of living humanity and courage. We should do this. We should pause in our lives to consider the efforts of individuals who through selfless action saved others or perhaps even kept those who opposed us from advancing in some way.
I have heard that this current generation is bereft of these sorts of people but I say there are many in uniform who give lie to this false belief, and that the young men and women we have in uniform at this very moment are some of the very best, ever. The post 9-11 American military is proof we are still capable of bravery, of courage under fire, of exemplary grace under pressure, and of dedication to the ideas and ideals that have always made this country strong.
This Memorial Day, when you think of Midway, Omaha Beach, or Yorktown, or Iwa Jima, or Khe Sanh, or Inchon, or Antietam, please take a moment to consider Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember Baghdad and Fallujah, Remember Kandahar and the Korengal Valley.
These are the men and women who are our heroes today. There are our heroes now.
Politics have divided this country on partisan lines and please allow me to remind you that the men and women in uniform and their actions, their courage and their blood are the only reasons you can express an opinion. Without such people this country would not have been born and it would have not survived, many times over. So regardless of how you feel about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, remember the men and women in uniform, some of which will not come home, others who will not come home whole, serve you. They serve all of us no matter what political beliefs we hold.
The three thousandth casualty of the war in Afghanistan, and that include all coalition forces, died last week. We do not own bravery, courage, or sacrifice in this mission and this too, we should remember on this day. We are not alone. We never have been. But the world does look to us for leadership and only politically have we been lacking.
On this day stop to remember Greg “Pappy” Boyington who was a drinker, a fighter, a flyer, but most of all a Marine, who was sent to die and went to kill, and came back again. Remember one person, one man or woman in the military that you think embodies what a hero is, or should be. But please do not forget this generation. Do not forget that right now, at this very moment, some young person from America is far away from home, and perhaps fighting for their very lives.
Remember the heroes. Remember this generation. They are one in the same.