MEMORIAL DAY 2017
I just read an e-mail from one of my online friends describing how a town in Holland, called Valkenburg, honors the fallen American service members from World War II. They honor them EVERY DAY, not just one day a year. Graves are tended by families who adopted the fallen soldiers in 1945 and pass the responsibility down to future generations as a way of honoring foreigners who gave their lives to free Holland from Nazi oppression. I have pasted the text of the e-mail below so you can read it for yourself. I hope it affects each reader as it affected me, reminding me of how much some have given for the cause of liberty.
They honor them EVERY DAY, not just one day a year. Graves are tended by families who adopted the fallen soldiers in 1945 and pass the responsibility down to future generations as a way of honoring foreigners who gave their lives to free Holland from Nazi oppression. I have pasted the text of the e-mail below so you can read it for yourself. I hope it affects each reader as it affected me, reminding me of how much some have given for the cause of liberty.
When I look at the way soldiers of my generation, the Vietnam War generation were often treated it saddens me to think that foreigners appreciate the sacrifices of American military people more than Americans do. When I think of the anti-war protests and feelings that led people to spit on me and other service members and call us vile names it brings tears to my eyes, even after almost 50 years. And, typical of liberals, they never had any criticism of the enemy murdering civilians in terror campaigns that were all too common but ignored by those who had so much hate for American soldiers. In every war civilians get killed but collateral damage is always a part of war, always has been and always will be. The difference is that Americans don’t go around committing genocide as our enemies so often do, not to say it hasn’t happened but it is extremely rare. Civilian deaths are tragic and our military ALWAYS goes out of the way to avoid any collateral damage, especially in the form of the deaths of non-combatants or massive damage to structures. Many American soldiers have died as a result of trying to prevent civilian casualties. The battles for Manila in WWII and Hue in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet offensive are prime examples where artillery and air power were only used after extensive American casualties resulted from trying to win with minimal damage being caused to civilians and structures. I received many words of thanks and encouragement but too many chose to attack those of us who served because they disagreed with the war. Instead of taking the political ruling class to task they chose to pick on those who had suffered through the trauma of war because we were “easier targets”. I will spend my second consecutive Memorial Day honoring the sacrifices by serving survivors at the Claremore Veterans Center. I won’t be able to attend the evening flag retirement ceremony due to a church commitment that I find just as important but I will spend 7 or 8 hours at the center, from 8 a. m. to 3 or 4 p.m
From the desk of
Memorial Day 365
This is the one day a year that we pause to honor, remember and celebrate all of those that have fallen in battle defending our greatest blessings….freedom and liberty. We know that their sacrifices paved the road we travel today and have kept the gate open for the future of those that follow us. At times we get so caught up in our own activities it’s far too easy to put the reason for days like this on the ‘back burner’ and concentrate on unwinding and fun with family and friends…..Even the wildest imagination cannot possibly describe what our extraordinary soldiers of yesterday as ‘fun’! Their stress level rises so far above anything you and I ever experienced, it’s out of sight!!!! The United States sets aside a single day for all of us to remember and honor these brave men…..I’d like to share with you a part of the honor a foreign nation regards our fallen of World War II.
There is a town that honors these American Heroes 365 days a year and it isn’t even in our Country !!! It is in one of the sixteen foreign countries that dedicated consecrated land to the American Military that will never return to their families and homeland. They have provided the final resting place for more than 125,000 American souls of World War II.
This town is Valkenburg, Holland. It’s a pristine and rather quaint small town where the merchants actually scrub the sidewalks in front of their stores each day. Valkenburg was the very heart of the Nazi controlled area battling the 101st Airborne Division of the American Army. The Citizens formed the “Dutch Resistance” and they literally carved out a huge cave in the limestone beneath the town with ‘secret’ entrances in several of the houses. The townsmen took turns staying above ground to not only avoid arousing the curiosity of the Nazi’s, but also to ‘secret’ supplies and food to the others. This ‘town below the town’ had its own fresh spring and ventilation system that kept the smoke of cooking from being detected. The kitchen area still has soot on the walls above the stoves. Most of the Dutch are practicing Catholics and there is even a ‘Confessional” carved in the walls. It was at great personal risk that they brought our wounded to the cave. The rooms where they cared for our wounded have names, dates and hometowns cut into the walls with bayonets or written in charcoal by the soldier. They buried our dead under the cover of darkness when possible, taking care to ‘map’ each location with the rank and name of the soldier.
Each Memorial Day the 3rd Armored Division Band from its post in Frankfurt/AM Germany is invited to participate in their two day celebration. This is the one trip wives are authorized to join as part of the American entourage and what a trip it was!!! Our bus was met at the outskirts by an official escort . As we wound our way through narrow streets we saw American Flags displayed by the merchants and people on the sidewalk waving as we passed. After a lavish cocktail hour and beyond words banquet , we (wives) were driven by the Burgermeister’s (mayor) wife to the concert hall. Here the ‘local’ band joined in with ours for the concert…the first song was our “Star Spangled Banner” !! And they all stood with hands over their hearts !!! WOW, talk about your chest swelling with pride…..
The celebration continued the next morning at Margratan American Cemetery. We walked from behind the Bell Tower to where the ceremony is held. The view is beyond spectacular! There are 8301 sparkling white crosses as far as you can see, each with a small American Flag beside it. The steps are lined in Red, White and Blue tulips that lead to the enormous granite tower base with each soldiers rank and name.
This is where the 365 days a year starts…. In 1945 they started an organization “ADOPT-A-SOLDIER” each family in the town has adopted the grave of a soldier and maintains it year around. They make sure the grass is cut, sometimes they bring flowers or just ‘visit’ and pull out a stray weed. They bring the children and tell ‘their’ stories over and over….from one generation to the next. The ‘adoptee’ remains a part of that family for all time.
My trip was many decades ago, my memory is like yesterday. A few years ago, old friends of mine vacationing in the area timed their trip to be in Valkenburg on Memorial Day and tells me it is the same. To be joined in celebrating our fallen by others like the town of Vaulkinburg Holland, makes me stand a little taller in my pride of America and her people.
I know everyone is packed and ready to trek to the cool mountains or sunny shore beaches for three days of ‘away from it all’. Perhaps this is a story you can share along the way. After all without our brave men and women going into harm’s way…..not asking what ‘political party’ you belong to…they know we are all Americans and blessed by those that have gone before.
With the sound of ‘Taps” echoing in my ears,
I remain grateful for this “One Nation Under God”
first seen on The Real Side w/ Joe Messina
I have written about the Claremore Veterans Center several times and feel the residents there deserve the respect of all Americans and anything I can do for them. There are veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and early Gulf conflicts. All of those men and women have earned the respect and honor of all of us as they served their nation, many doing so in an active war situation. None of them make a big deal about their service although many saw combat in various battles/wars and some survived wounds to continue serving. Some never saw battle but were in the position to, and willing to, fight had they been asked to do so. No soldier desires war because they are the ones who go in harm’s way but all of them are willing or they wouldn’t be in the military, especially those in combat arms MOS categories. The infantry soldier is the most likely to be wounded or killed but anyone assigned to a war zone is a potential casualty, especially in today’s environment where IED and random terror bombings are so prevalent.
As you spend your day in recreation, cooking, eating, and playing, please take a few moments to remember those who have sacrificed and those now sacrificing their lives to give us the opportunity to enjoy this day in liberty because without them we all would be living in a world barak obama, hillary clinton, and others desire, one of oppression, suffering, and tyranny. Whether Nazi, Soviet, or some other dictatorial oppression, we would be subject to one of them if not for those willing to lay their lives down in the name of freedom and liberty for others. All of us owe the dead, and the living veterans, a great deal of honor and respect. At least we had people in control during World War II that would only settle or total victory through the unconditional surrender of our enemies. Since then we have seen a compromise with tyranny in Korea leading to an “armistice”, virtual political surrender in Vietnam, and “containment” efforts in the Middle East in the last wars our nation has been involved in. It seems the political ruling class is more concerned with not “offending” our enemies than they are in defeating them. I am too old and in too poor health to help fight wars today but my warrior spirit has not diminished. I want to see enemies of liberty totally defeated, not merely “contained”. The enemy we face today is no less satanic than were Hitler, Mussolini, the Japanese warlords, or Saddam Hussein. Please, I urge you, to spend at least part of your Memorial Day thinking of the millions, living and dead, who have helped America be the beacon of liberty to an oppressed world. Jesus Christ died for our sins and many Americans died or fought for our freedom throughout the last 242 years. Let us not forget nor ignore the sacrifices of so many. To all of them, living and dead, and to their families, I say “Thank You” from the bottom of my heart. There is nothing I can ever do to adequately honor you but I try my best to do so every day. I also try to live my life to shown Jesus in my life to everyone every day and pray that I am successful in properly honoring the eternal salvation He provided for me.
I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.
May 26, 2017