“This do in remembrance of me . . . ”— Luke 22:19 NIV
Today is Memorial Day. I humbly pray y’all are not running around and saying “Happy Memorial Day.” Today is not about happiness, it is about honor! Today is about those who gave the last full measure of devotion; the ultimate sacrifice for country, and for those who desire liberty and freedom from tyranny. Today is a day when we should focus less on barbecues, swimming pools, and retail sales, and instead, take a walk among the gardens of stone. I suppose if we could fully realize the folly of saying “Happy Memorial Day” and replace it with “Honor Memorial Day,” we would indeed honor this day . . . not just today, but every day.
The title of this missive should be remembered and recognized by everyone, it comes from the movie, “Saving Private Ryan.” I am quite sure that the movie will be playing today. It is a story from the Greatest Generation and the day of the largest amphibious operation in history, Operation Overlord, known as D-Day, June 6, 1944. The movie tells the story of Ranger Company Commander, CPT Miller, portrayed by Tom Hanks. The opening is without a doubt the most graphic and true portrayal of what it was like for our brave American heroes who hit the beaches of Normandy. The crux of the film is that one young paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, PVT Ryan, played by Matt Damon, has unknowingly lost all of his three brothers in combat . . . and all three letters arrived at once to a patriotic mother. The decision was made to find Ryan and get him back home, a mission that fell to CPT Miller and a select few from his infantry company.
They do find PVT Ryan during an anti-armor ambush against the Germans. Instead of being immediately extracted, Ryan refuses to leave his fellow “troopers” as there is an imminent German counter-offensive coming to capture a critical bridge crossing. In the end, all of CPT Miller’s group, save one, are killed, along with most of Ryan’s squad. CPT Miller is shot, and as he is dying, he pulls Ryan close to him and utters these impactful two words, “earn this.”
Today, there are generations of those laid to rest in the gardens of stone who are calling out to America, “earn this.” They are challenging us, just as CPT Miller did, to earn the sacrifices of their lives.
The end of the movie goes forward to a grown Ryan, older, asking his wife to “tell me I was a good man, tell me I lived a good life.”
America — Texas — if we were to ask ourselves if we are truly earning the sacrifices of those for whom we honor today, what would our honest answer be?
There are still World War II Veterans who are alive. Recently, I lost a dear friend, Ray Lambert, a veteran of the 16th Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division, Omaha Beach, Normandy. These men who fought the vilest of tyrannies, National Socialist (Nazi) Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan, probably never believed they would find those very principles, tyranny, existing in their very own America. Our brave heroes who gave their lives fighting against Stalinism, socialism, and communism would have never thought there would be a Communist Party USA, Antifa, or a Marxist organization calling themselves BLM, who have recently aligned themselves with an Islamic jihadist group, Hamas.
How many of those who have lost their lives at the hands of Islamic jihadists in Iraq, Afghanistan, or at home such as 9-11, would believe we would have members of our very own Congress supporting Islamic terrorist groups. Or that we would have Islamic legal jihadists as part of a DoD working group seeking our “extremists” in our military, meaning conservatives.
Our honored dead must be rolling in their graves knowing that a US military officer was relieved of command for speaking out against Marxism, the antithesis of our Constitutional Republic and its fundamental principles. After all, those who made the ultimate sacrifice took an oath to support and defend our constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But, it appears to be quite en vogue to undermine our rule of law.
Does anyone believe that we “earn this” by having wide-open borders that allow illegal immigrants to flood our country, commit horrific acts of violence, such as the illegal immigrant who murdered Mollie Tibbets in Iowa? Is that how we Honor Memorial Day, by enabling the undermining of our very own country?
Do we honor our fallen by voting into office — including the highest office in the land — those who truly believe America is a horrible country, racist, and redefines our history and founding to align with the new Marxist ideology of racial divisiveness? Yes, I am quite sure there are those who think everything is just great now in America. They are the ones who probably have never visited the gardens of stone and hold our real heroes in utter disdain. They are not “earning this.” They are destroying this, for which many have died to support and defend.
My dad and mom are among those buried in a national cemetery. My resolve and dedication to fight for America emanate from them, the original “Guardians of the Republic” in our family. Every day of my life is dedicated to that simple challenge, “earn this.” At the age of fifteen, my dad challenged me to be the first officer in our family. It was a great day when Dad and Mom pinned on my Second Lieutenant rank on the campus of the University of Tennessee.
Today, Memorial Day 2021, be still and listen, America, and you will hear it, the voices of those men and women who have gone before us. They are saying “earn this.”
Will you accept the challenge going forward? Or, will you continue to say “Happy Memorial Day,” and spit upon the hallowed ground fertilized by the blood of heroes, and watered by the tears of those they left behind?
Jesus once said to His apostles at the last supper, ” . . . this do in remembrance of Me.” What are you doing today — and every day — in remembrance of our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen? And, spare me the insidious gender-neutral bovine excrement!
HONOR MEMORIAL DAY!!!!
Steadfast and Loyal,
LTC Allen B. West (Ret.)