Thursday night I attended an event in Waco, Texas for the Combat Marine Outdoors. Friday evening I was in Stafford, Texas for the Navy SEAL Foundation Danny Deitz Memorial Rodeo weekend kickoff.This is Memorial Day weekend. It’s not a time to celebrate swimming pools opening, summer beginning, sales, BBQs, or road trips. This is not a time for us to greet each other saying “Happy Memorial Day” because for so many it is not. This is a time when we should especially dedicate ourselves to “HONOR Memorial Day” in remembrance of those who have given the last full measure of devotion, for which we should express our increased devotion.
This is a time when we MUST reflect on the unique and exceptional ideal that America is the land of the free since that day on Lexington Green, where seven made the ultimate sacrifice, we have — and always shall be —the home of the brave. The true one-percenters, many of whom lie in the Gardens of Stone willfully have given their all to this Constitutional Republic.It ‘s a country birthed in the concept of individual freedom and liberty, for which there are some who amazingly wish to fundamentally transform. This weekend, watch the old historic movies portraying the acts of courage, bravery, and dedication that define our existence…the real heroes. Take the time this weekend America, to sit down with your children and grandchildren and read those simple words of President Abraham Lincoln called the Gettysburg Address. There has, and potentially never will be, more appropriate words to consecrate a sacred place, hallowed ground, a garden of stone.
Take the few minutes and listen to the West Point Glee Club sing of that special place where our Warriors go…”The Mansions of the Lord”. And if that song, that reflection does not bring tears to your eyes, sadly, I must tell you, you have no comprehension of what it means to be an American.
Since September 11, 2001 we have witnessed a new breed, a reincarnation of our Greatest Generation step up to the plate against militant Islamic jihadism, Islamo-fascism. And as I attend various events this weekend, I see the results of their sacrifices. I see the children who’ve lost their moms and dads, the spouses who lost their loved ones. The mothers and gathers who’ve lost their sons and daughters over these past sixteen years.
And what have we experienced in the news this past week? Little girls savagely attacked in Manchester, England. A police chief beheaded and a Catholic priest and his parishioners abducted. A bus of innocent Egyptian Coptic Christians — twenty-six — brutally slaughtered following the forty Coptic Christians killed in two separate bomb attacks on Palm Sunday. There are those who admonish us not to “rush to judgment,” not to offend and to let coexistence, compassion, love win the day.” These are not the words of those who lie in the Gardens of Stone, where men and women understood the existence of evil, not just in our times, but throughout time, and took an oath to defend us against it.
This weekend we remember, we honor, we cherish those people — not the cowards. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”The door to the mansion of the Lord is closed to those cold timid souls who survive off the sacrifice of others. John Stuart Mill plainy articulated, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
This Memorial Day we salute the men and women of honor, not the miserable creatures. This weekend, do not wear the jerseys of sports personalities, but find patriotic attire, to show you identify with those “better men and women” and their exertions.
And personally, I give thanks to Buck and Snooks West, my dad and mom who lie together in a garden of stone at Marietta National Cemetery. Mom and Dad, one day I will join y’all in that mansion of the Lord…as I find my rest in the Garden of Stone.Honor Memorial Day.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]