Monday, May 25, 2015

The Debts That Cannot Be Paid

America, 2015

"Remember us."
 As simple an order as a king can give. "Remember why we died." For he did not wish tribute, nor song, nor monuments nor poems of war and valor. His wish was simple. "Remember us," he said to me. That was his hope, should any free soul come across that place, in all the countless centuries yet to be. May all our voices whisper to you from the ageless stones, 
"Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here by Spartan law, we lie."
— "Dilios"

The way to honor our fallen heroes is to not use up our soldiers like tissues carelessly pulled from a box. The way to honor our heroes is to be willing to use everything within our power — to move the mountains themselves! — to save them, whether from a fire base in Afghanistan or a burning embassy in Benghazi. The way to honor our soldiers is to provide them with the tools, the training and above all the leadership they demand and deserve. We as a country have fallen far, far short on all those things.

I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them 
Yet, we must try to honor them—not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. 
Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we—in a less final, less heroic way—be willing to give of ourselves. 
— Ronald Reagan

As always, my thoughts are of my father, Robert R. Bane (USN WW2, Pacific Theater) and my dearest friends, now gone, Martin Garner (USAF, Vietnam) and Dave Arnold (USAF Reserve Parajumper Rescue, Vietnam).

Thank you all for your service.


Anonymous said...

We lost a military man in our family, not on some far off battlefield, but in the US. He was doing his job that he loved so well and his equipment failed him. I still respect his service and the sacrifice of his young widow.

Tennessee Gentleman said...

When you go home, tell them of us and say; For their tomorrow we gave our today.