I hear that Barack Obama has better things to do than leading the tradition of honoring the soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery (as is normally the case for a President each year). It’s especially significant during the years we are at war.
And I hear that Barack Obama will stop by a cemetery while he’s on vacation in Chicago. Make no mistake, he will undoubtedly have the Press Corps with him. Hell, he might even have “Teleprompter One” with him so he can say some well-rehearsed “impromptu” comments which, we all know, won’t really be heartfelt except for how it might help his image.
Maybe this is because Obama has no investment in our freedom.
I detest the message Obama’s actions send our youth. “It’s just another tradition, kids… nothing important.” Especially to someone who apparently finds it necessary to travel the world (at our expense) living lavishly while he trashes the very country he purports to lead. The very country so many hundreds of thousands of young men and women have died in order that the country may endure. It’s more than “just a tradition…” Some traditions are important as reminders to all, and this is one of them.
A real leader doesn’t ignore the thousands of neatly rowed crosses marking the final resting places of young men and women who never got to share the promise of America… but whose sacrifices made sure WE did.
And Obama apparently doesn’t see the importance in that. I do. I have friends lying there. I resent – and I want to emphasize that… I RESENT a President who chooses not to be there on the one day we set aside to stop and remember the years of life each one sacrificed. It just doesn’t seem right. And do you know why it doesn’t seem right? Because it isn’t. It speaks volumes about his lack of respect for this country… and that lack of respect will continue until he re-makes America into his vision.
But Obama will undoubtedly make a speech wherever he is. No doubt he’ll be impressed with himself. But fewer and fewer of Americans are. And this snub of our heroes will only make it worse. At least it should.
There’s a scene at the end of “Saving Private Ryan” where a now-retired James Ryan travels back to France to visit the grave of Captain John Miller who died making sure Ryan was safely returned to his family… a family that had already lost 3 sons in World War II. It is a most moving moment that sums up what it’s like for those of us who did survive and got to live our lives because of the sacrifice of others. It also shows the reverence we should all have… especially the President of the United States.
To all of you who have served in the military and, like me, was lucky enough to complete your tour of duty, you know what this week-end means to me, because it means the same to you. Thank you, brothers and sisters.
To those of you who have relatives serving today, thank you and your loved ones. May they come home soon and safe.
And to all of those who never made it home, thank you for your service and may God hold you always.
One final thought: We have been given the gift of freedom thanks to the sacrifice of so many. But it is still up to each one of us to EARN it by being respectful of each other. By being respectful of those who fought, and sometimes died on our behalf. Live GOOD lives, lives with meaning. Because you/we are not just living our lives, but carrying their share of the American dream on our shoulders. Earn what we’ve been given, so when we pass it on to the next generation, they too will understand and appreciate how special freedom is. And next time, maybe we can elect a President who understands what an HONOR it is to attend the ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day and to be the one to lead the display of respect and appreciation.
Have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day Week-end. Please find a way to show respect and appreciation for our men and women in the service of our country.
Gerry Ashley (Veteran, USAF)
Update: Michelle Malkin has a number of moving articles in honor of Memorial Day. Start here.