21 Gun Salute ~ Memorial Day observed.

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Old Glory ~ Long Island New York circa 2012

I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of my bishop. If he had waited a few more minutes before heading in to enemy territory I could have sent my knight in to watch his back. The lone rook sat dumbly behind the king watching his fellow soldier sign his own death warrant. As for the lovely queen she flirted with her lowly pawns on my right flank, hopefully giving them a pep talk. My brother smirked on the opposite side of the table. His win streak is climbing and my frustration is not far behind. But I don’t mind so much. I looked to my right and watched my niece and nephews play innocently in their sandbox as a soft breeze carried mellow rock around the backyard. My step-dad flipped burgers rolled the dogs and kept one eye on the kids as Memorial Day weekend settled upon our little part of the country. It was a peaceful time brought to us by the good men and women of our military. Thanks to these protectors of freedom and guardians of liberty, we can enjoy moments like this with loved ones.

My fellow Americans, on this most sacred of holidays we celebrate heroes from the past, of the present and the inevitable future. We hang flags to honor the country and light candles to remember the fallen. The children started to run around the pool with no worries; concerned only with being children and doing kid stuff. I sat back in my chair and contemplated the beauty of freedom and how lucky I am to abide in its’ shadow. I hope and pray my flesh and blood will enjoy it when they turn thirty.

In the past, I have been privileged to work with veterans who like to tell war stories and share experiences. Luckily for me I enjoy this sort of thing. They transport me to worlds of bombs and bullets, of fear and loss, of bravery and companionship. I will never know the bond which binds the lives of soldiers. It’s a blurry picture my creative mind has a hard time focusing on. It’s a day in the life of someone’s shoes I simply cannot fill. These blessed creatures of all color, code and creed have been unified to one single absolute truth; they have all heeded the call of duty for this great nation and gone to war countless times over. Not just physically, but mentally as well. They took up their swords and walked in to battle with heads held high and hearts filled with determination. The earth shook beneath their feet; they fought the good fight and stood their ground. Many made it through unscathed but too many stayed behind in shallow graves. For those who returned, they lived their lives with a new sense of pride, a new hope for things unseen.

My heart is heavy though. I say this because our media has turned this holiday in to nothing more than a moneymaking enterprise. Everywhere I look there are ads for car sales, clothe sales and even airfare discounts. Granted all these things are nice, but for it to overshadow the true meaning of this day is almost sacrilegious. Some paid with their lives so others can hate without prejudice, discriminate without reason, burn our flag and mock our people. This particular blog is not about the haters and the radicals who seek to destroy this nation with words and deed, but in a sense rise above their pettiness and speak to those of us who love life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When we see the red, white and blue parading over our neighborhoods this weekend let us all stop, bow our heads and take a minute to respect those colors and what they stand for. There is an inscription at a chapel in Normandy, France at the Normandy American cemetery which perfectly describes the people we are honoring this weekend: “These endured all and gave all that justice among nations might prevail and that mankind might enjoy freedom and inherit peace.”

To every veteran, M.I.A, P.O.W and deceased hero…thank you for our freedom. Thank you for liberty. I owe my life to you all. Salute and God bless.

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