Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I attended a Memorial Day remembrance service in my hometown. I attended it not only because the horror of war compels me to remember those who serve but also because, as Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address over 150 years ago, "... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."
Our veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice or who still, today, carry the wounds of war both physical and psychological deserve something from us especially since war has become a volunteer sign up. Now, a very small percentage of our nation sees military service and an even smaller percentage sees the explosive brutality of war. The world-wide reality of the potential savagery of man cannot be denied. Our nation blessed by geographical fortune must rely on those few who volunteer for military service so that we may live. They do so even when policy makers send them for less than efficacious reasons. I am still thankful for their service if not thankful for the policies of politicians with seemingly little regard for life send them into a hellish reality and sometimes a hellish end when those leaders have never donned a military uniform or have never seen war up close and personal.
In final analysis, I want our nation to survive not subservient to any religion, to any Trumpian demagogue, or to any ideological dictatorship. I want it to survive free; able to question, debate, deliberate and protest if necessary.
I also went to the Memorial Day service held in the hall of remembrance of my town because the dead of years gone by rose for me this day. When I was young my father told me the story of a family with whom my parents were friends and whom they loved much. Their last name was Barker and my mother's picture bears testament to having known this family as she sat next to their beautiful Christmas tree when invited into their home. My father recounted to me the story of their wonderful son, Malen Barker, who saw military service in Korea.
It was told to me that before leaving for Korea Malen stopped by our home. I was probably less than a year old placed in a carriage on our porch. Malen picked me up, kissed me goodbye, hugged both my parents and said he was saying goodbye because as they quoted him "I will not be back." He spoke the truth. He was killed in Korea in 1951 at the age of 21. Today, he was given posthumously the Medal of Liberty and I wanted to be there for that for him. I wanted to say thanks to a man I never knew but whom my parents knew well.
I cried today when they sang the National Anthem, I cried today when they sang America the Beautiful, and I cried today when they bestowed the Medal of Liberty to Malen, a man who, today, resurrected for me a time and people long gone by. Thank you, Malen, and thank you to all the Malens who have given their last full measure of devotion so that our nation may live.
YES, IF YOU WANT THIS NATION TO LIVE GET OUT THE DEMOCRATIC VOTE!