Honoring Our Fallen

By The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn
June 1, 2021 Updated: June 1, 2021

Memorial Day is an essential reminder to all that throughout America’s history there can be no freedom without the shedding of blood. Memorial Day is intended to be a day of national mourning to honor the memory of our valiant dead who made their bodies a wall between our country and pure evil. All across America volunteers place flags and wreaths at cemeteries in remembrance of fallen heroes. Arlington National Cemetery, our most famous one, is the final resting place for some of our greatest heroes including 300,000 of every American conflict; from the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan. Also located there is The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that is guarded 24hr/day, 365 days per year.

For veterans and the many veterans’ organizations like VFW and American Legion, Memorial Day is more than one day per year. The same holds true in the minds of millions of patriots who love this country and respond daily in support of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; or are reminded by the tragedy of another flag draped coffin on the news.

Several years ago I was a “Guardian” as part of an Honor Flight back to Washington D.C. for our Korea Vets. While there, a high priority was to visit all the war memorials and honor the fallen. Also there were literally 10’s 1000’s of patriots including school children learning about the cost of freedom.

A highlight of the trip was our visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s impossible to imagine any adult visiting those sacred grounds would not be affected emotionally. As I stood at the grave of Audie Murphy gazing upon row after row of grave markers I couldn’t imagine the grief felt by loved ones.

During war the typical family at home waits, always anxious to hear from those far away serving. A simple note or even a letter received is a huge emotional high. In reality the dreaded day always comes for so many as the government-looking vehicle pulls up to the front of the house. Two uniformed individuals step out. For every single grave marker of those killed in war is a story about a son, brother, father, mother, or daughter whose life ended much too early.  

At the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier a ceremony was taking place for a recently deceased soldier as his wife and small children observed. At the conclusion of TAPS being played I don’t believe there was a dry eye among the observers. 

Because of the price they paid, we live free in the greatest nation on earth. Our call to action as “we the people” who love America remains as it has been for generations: to be the defenders and protectors of their honor and the principles they fought for. On this 2021 Memorial Day, I believe “we the people” must consider the ominous warning by President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

To truly honor our fallen we must now fight for, protect, and hand down the truth of our nation’s history to our children. Evil exists and is ever present to subvert truth. Revisionist historians are trying to rewrite the meaning of our past so that our youth hate their own country. The cancerous evil of Karl Marx’s ideology, and radical teachings like Critical Race Theory are being forced into grades K thru 12 at an alarming rate! “The first battlefield is to rewrite history… Take away the heritage of a people and they are easily persuaded,” Karl Marx.

A quick run through U.S. history I believe will highlight principles our heroes fought and died for which “we the people” must protect.

Revolutionary War: General George Washington on multiple occasions acknowledged that by the grace of God his ragtag Army of farmers, merchants, craftsmen, and politicians defeated the British Army; and escaped from rule by tyranny. They sacrificed all for precious “freedom.”  Their amazing vision for America gave “we the people” one the greatest governing documents in history. “We the people” are a nation founded on Christian beliefs and Biblical teachings.  Schools and even prestigious universities were built and organized upon Christian teachings with Christ as the center of our values. Harvard University’s initial motto was “Truth for Christ and the Church.” The Christian church is an essential part of our heritage and is intended to be the conscience of the nation. “A nation without a conscience is a nation without a soul. A nation without a soul is a notion that cannot live,” Winston Churchill.

Their sacrifice also gave us the right to bear arms, limited government, checks and balances against tyranny, and free speech. All these principles, when under attack, remain with “we the people” to defend and protect. If they could reach out from the grave I think they’d ask, “Why have you forsaken us?”

Civil War: Thousands of Americans served selflessly under Lincoln and made the ultimate sacrifice to end the tyranny of slavery.

WWI: America, when provoked by attacks, sent America’s soldiers into battle alongside allies to defeat acts of aggression by a tyrannical axis of countries including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. 

WWII: They were known as the “Greatest Generation.” Our nation and possibly the entire world were at risk of falling to the evil of Japanese tyranny and Nazism. “We the people” owe so much to the bravery and sacrifice of that generation. As time passes will their history be rewritten and twisted into something it wasn’t?

Korean War: Our military made the call, and they responded to defend a country they did not know and a people they had never met. They were sent to fight communism abroad for the freedom of others.

Vietnam War: They were drafted to serve in an ugly war, also in a country they did not know and a people they had never met to once again fight communism from spreading and freedom for others.

Middle East: After the attack on 9/11 they chose to leave good jobs and even professional sports to join the military. They made the ultimate sacrifice far from home. They freed our world of the tyrannical dictator Saddam Hussein; and perpetrator of evil Osama Bin Laden.

A brief synopsis of American history seems clear. The common enemy in America’s wars was the battle against evil in the form of tyranny; which gave birth to communism, socialism, and Stalinism.  

A voice from the past of the tyrannical monster Lenin now seems somehow familiar: “We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth… We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”  

Will “we the people” heed the warning of Ronald Reagan and others? The battle against tyranny may now be within.  

May God bless America this Memorial Day 2021 as “we the people” remember and honor by our actions; the fallen who paid the price for the very freedoms and opportunities we are so blessed to have.

In Memory of Chief Petty Officer C.W. Mackey USN WWII and Korean War Veteran whose example of integrity and love for America had a profound influence on my life.

Jeff Mackey, Capt USN Retired

The Reader's Turn
The Reader's Turn