Culture Wars: Contrasting Biblical Christian Worldview with Secular Humanism, part 2

Culture Wars and Critical Thinking Skills:

Contrasting Biblical Christian Worldview with Secular Humanism

Part 2

Who will we worship?

The winner of the present battle of worldviews in America will have great impact upon everyone in our nation. If the forces of humanism prevail, the fruit will be loss of liberty, increased crime, more broken homes, and less prosperity. Christianity has been the life-blood of America. If the Christian worldview prevails, it will once again nourish every aspect of the life of this nation producing freedom, justice, prosperity, and life for all. ~Dr. Stephen McDowell

Dr. Stephen McDowell

PART 2 OF 2.

June 2017 – Understanding the two views of law and government presented in (Culture Wars: Contrasting Biblical Worldview with Secular Humanism, part 1) reveals why leftists are more outspoken than conservatives about loss of power. Leftists will be more radical and even militant in their opposition to conservatives governing than conservatives would be in the opposite position, because to leftists, government is their “church” and is a primary place where they can execute their god’s (that is, man’s) vision for life. To them, government is the place to advance man’s kingdom in the earth. Government is their highest source of authority, their highest place to appeal. They have no higher power or savior to trust in – no belief in a sovereign God who works in the hearts of men and events in history.

Conservatives only want to get control of government to slow it down, to keep government from trampling upon the unalienable rights of man. Christian conservatives have God as the highest source of power to which they can appeal. They have a savior Jesus Christ who brings positive transformation by changing the hearts of man.

Two warring worldviews


While the worldviews of those people reflected (See red/blue map from Part 1.) vary greatly, the general ideologies can be reduced to two positions: Christian versus humanistic.

In short, a biblical Christian worldview has been the source of liberty in history, while a humanistic, man-centered worldview has promoted tyranny. The founders of America believed, in the words of Thomas Jefferson’s pastor, Charles Clay: “[T]he sacred cause of liberty [is] the cause of God.”1 Those who oppose God and freedom of worship, oppose true liberty.2

On one side of the war is a humanistic worldview. With this religion (and all worldviews are religious), there are no absolutes. Right and wrong are based upon what a majority says or what a minority in power says; hence, law is evolving. Law is whatever the people or courts or legislators say it is.

Humanism taught in Colleges, then High Schools at turn of 20th Century

This view began to be taught in various law schools and colleges around the turn of the 20th century, with state secondary schools following in succeeding decades. Over time, this evolutionary view of law began to impact the courts’ actions. Judges began to see our law as evolving. In the words of Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Chief Justice from 1930 to 1941: “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”3

Most people are not aware of how much a humanistic worldview permeates our society. It is predominant in the marketplace of ideas – in movies, newspapers, television, public schools, civil government, and most books, including dictionaries.

Comparing Definitions of Immoral

Christian Definition

As an example let’s compare the definition of immoral from a modern dictionary and from America’s first exhaustive dictionary produced by Noah Webster in the early 19th century and first published in 1828. Webster, as most of our founders, had a Christian worldview, which is reflected in his definitions. Under his definition of immoral, he writes: “Every action is immoral which contravenes any divine precept.” To him, divine precept is the standard to judge immorality.

Humanistic Definition

The “Happy Human” is an icon that has been adopted as an international symbol of secular humanism.

The modern Webster’s New World Dictionary defines immoral as “not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior.” Immorality today is usually presented in this light where man determines right and wrong conduct. He is his own god.

Christian Worldview has Absolutes, Right and Wrong

In great contrast is the Christian worldview, where there are absolutes, right and wrong. Since God is the source of what is right and wrong, He is the source of law. To those with a Christian worldview, God reveals His truth in the Bible.

Some would ask, “What difference does it make if we have a Christian or humanistic foundation just as long as I have my freedoms?” We must understand that ideas have consequences.

The fruit we get is determined by the seeds we plant. It is important that we understand the seed principles upon which America was built. If we change seeds, we will get different results. The external state of nations today, as in all of history, has been determined by the foundational principles of the nations. Since these foundational principles are primarily rooted in the religion of the people, we should ask, “In what religion was America’s foundation rooted?”

One reasonable resolution


If you base your answer on what is taught in government schools, you would think we are a product of the secular European Enlightenment. But if you were to examine the laws, the schools, the writings, and the lives of early Americans, you would conclude, as did the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854, that “the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”4

This same view was summarized by President Andrew Jackson when he said on June 8, 1845, “[the Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.” Early Americans would almost universally agree that the religious, social, educational, and political life of America was primarily shaped by the Bible.5

George Washington: no freedom without God and bible

Our states were colonized by people who desired to freely worship the God of the Bible; our schools were begun so that everyone would be able to read and understand the Bible for themselves; our universities were founded to train ministers who were knowledgeable of the Scriptures; our laws and constitutions were written based on biblical ideas; and our Founding Fathers overwhelmingly had a biblical worldview.6

The winner of the present battle of worldviews in America will have great impact upon everyone in our nation. If the forces of humanism prevail, the fruit will be loss of liberty, increased crime, more broken homes, and less prosperity.

The leftists rage because they have a wrong worldview. We must not only oppose them in the political arena, but we must also teach and demonstrate the principles and ideas that made America exceptional.

Christianity has been the life-blood of America. If the Christian worldview prevails, it will once again nourish every aspect of the life of this nation producing freedom, justice, prosperity, and life for all.  

See Part 1

Culture Wars: Contrasting Biblical Worldview with Secular Humanism, part 1

1 Quoted in Stephen McDowell, The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, Charlottesville: Providence Foundation, 2016, p. 181. See Chapter 12 for more on “Liberty.”
2 For historic support of this, see Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty, A Religious History of the American Revolution.
3 Charles Evans Hughes, speech at Elmira on May 3, 1907, The Autobiographical Notes of Charles Evans Hughes, David J. Danelski and Joseph S. Tulchin, editors, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973, p. 144.
4 B.F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864, p. 328.
5 Stephen McDowell, The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, p. 15. See Chapter One for more on the influence of the Bible in the history of America.
6 See various books published by the Providence Foundation that document the Christian foundation of America, including America a Christian Nation, America’s Providential History, and The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty.

____________________
Dr. Stephen McDowell is president of Providence Foundation and a prolific author who focuses on the Christian roots of the U.S. Find his resources at afastore.net or call 877-927-4917 (toll free). Find more at providencefoundation.com or 434-978-4535.

 

 

Capitalism, History Timeline, and Adam Smith

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

key“Under capitalism everybody provides for their own needs by serving the needs of others.” ~Ludwig von Mises

Adam Smith Wealth of Nations

Free Market: Essence of Prosperity

 by C. A. Davidson

handshake“Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. But man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only.”

“Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want.”

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We … never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” ~Adam Smith

Government bureaucrats often rage about the “selfishness” of businesses, but the most successful businesses please the most consumers. This is clearly unselfish.

When some businesses do not meet the needs of consumers, they fail. If they break the law against robbery and fraud, they are punished.

But what happens when government takes over business and fails to meet consumer needs? Who punishes government for breaking laws, for engaging in robbery and fraud?

Too many politicians have taken to enforcing Political Correctness instead of the law. Rather than encouraging free trade and spreading prosperity, the result is stifling honest, wholesome, and necessary businesses.

To the extent that governments restrict businesses in their free exchange of goods and services by eliminating competition, it is government which creates monopolies, reduces the selection and quality of goods, reduces gainful employment, and spreads poverty.

History Timeline and Analysis

Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations

*From Wikipedia

capitalismAdam Smith (baptised 16 June 1723 – 17 July 1790 [OS: 5 June 1723 – 17 July 1790]) was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment,[1] Smith is the author of The Principles Which Lead and Direct Philosophical Enquiries, Illustrated by the History of Astronomy, prior to 1758, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759, and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776. The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. It earned him an enormous reputation and would become one of the most influential works ever published. Smith is widely cited as the father of modern economics and capitalism and is still among the most influential thinkers in the field of economics today.[2] In 2009, Smith was named among the ‘Greatest Scots’ of all time, in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.[3]

Smith studied social philosophy at the University of Glasgow and at Balliol College in the University of Oxford, where he was one of the first students to benefit from scholarships set up by his fellow Glaswegian John Snell. After graduating, he delivered a successful series of public lectures at Edinburgh, leading him to collaborate with David Hume during the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time he wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In his later life, he took a tutoring position that allowed him to travel throughout Europe, where he met other intellectual leaders of his day. Smith then returned home and spent the next ten years writing The Wealth of Nations, publishing it in 1776. He died in 1790 at the age of 67.

The Wealth of Nations

Main article: The Wealth of Nations

AdamSmith1790bSmith used the term “the invisible hand” in “History of Astronomy”[76] referring to “the invisible hand of Jupiter” and twice – each time with a different meaning – the term “an invisible hand“: in The Theory of Moral Sentiments[77] (1759) and in The Wealth of Nations[78] (1776). This last statement about “an invisible hand” has been interpreted as “the invisible hand” in numerous ways. It is therefore important to read the original:

As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other eases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. [emphasis added].

Those who regard that statement as Smith’s central message also quote frequently Smith’s dictum:[79]

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

Smith’s statement about the benefits of “an invisible hand” is certainly meant to answer Mandeville’s contention that “Private Vices … may be turned into Public Benefits”.[80] It shows Smith’s belief that when an individual pursues his self-interest, he indirectly promotes the good of society. Self-interested competition in the free market, he argued, would tend to benefit society as a whole by keeping prices low, while still building in an incentive for a wide variety of goods and services. Nevertheless, he was wary of businessmen and warned of their “conspiracy against the public or in some other contrivance to raise prices.”[81] Again and again, Smith warned of the collusive nature of business interests, which may form cabals or monopolies, fixing the highest price “which can be squeezed out of the buyers”.[82] Smith also warned that a true laissez-faire economy would quickly become a conspiracy of businesses and industry against consumers, with the former scheming to influence politics and legislation. Smith states that the interest of manufacturers and merchants “…in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public…

 Dinner Talk

Analysis: how to discern and evaluate economic principles

1. Read the capitalist viewpoint in the General post link above.

2.Today, the Left considers capitalism a  “conspiracy” to rip off the consumer. This is an exhibit of human nature. Examples of this would be the Enron scandal, and Fannie and Freddie Mac. You may not remember Enron, perhaps because despite the impact on many employees, our economy managed to survive.

 

3. History timeline: Revisiting History

 

1776— “The Wealth of Nations was also an argument against government control. England at the time had chartered monopolies back in 1776. The king decided what companies would do what.” ~Rush Limbaugh

1930s and 1940s—-Another word for “crony capitalism” is fascism. This was the brand of socialism practiced by Hitler and Mussolini. They invested government money (from taxpayers) into their chosen industries.

2012

4. Enron was a large private sector corporation that went under because of fraud. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing scandal contributed to the present recession because of abuse of funds. The difference in the two cases is that government bailed out the housing case. This is an example of the government acting in the so-called “public interest”, instead of individual businesses acting in self-interest. Compare the effect on the national economy of the two policies.

5. What do you think is the difference between selfishness and self-interest? Why do you think the Constitution shows that the Founders understood human nature?

(That’s why there’s a difference in “selfishness” and “self-interest,” but everybody looking out for themselves — not in a selfish way, but in a self-interest way — benefits everybody else. The guy behind the counter selling a television set, he’s gotta make sure there’s a lot of them there to handle the demand. He’s gotta make an investment in having a stockroom full of the things that people might want. He’s gotta take a risk in how many to buy and what kind, based on the best evidence he has of what people are gonna want and what they’re willing to pay. ~Rush Limbaugh)

US Constitution Series 6: Law, Liberty, and Socialism

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

All Men are Created Equal

key The Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

decofindependence1The Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that some truths are self-evident, and one of these is the fact that all men are created equal. Yet everyone knows that no two human beings are exactly alike in any respect. They are different when they are born. They vary in physical strength, mental capacity, emotional stability, inherited social status, in their opportunities for self-fulfillment, and in scores of other ways. Then how can they be equal?

The answer is that everyone’s individual differences should be accepted, but be treated as equals as human beings. Constitutional writer Clarence Carson describes two ways all persons should have their equality guaranteed:

1) Equality before the law. this means that every man’s case is tried by the same law governing any particular case. Practically, it means that there are no different laws for different classes and orders of men [as there were in ancient times]. The definition of premeditated murder is the same for the millionaire as for the tramp. A corollary of this is that no classes are created or recognized by law.

2) Each man has an equal title to God-given liberties along with every other.

Rousseau’s Error

johnadams2John Adams was in France when Jean Jacques Rousseau was teaching that all men were designed to be equal in every way. Adams wrote:

That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has …But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, …or by the self-styled philosophers of the French Revolution.

Minorities: Crossing the Culture Gap

Being a minority, even in the United States, is painful because acceptance depends on “crossing the culture gap.” This means learning the English language; attaining the general norm of education—which in America is fairly high; becoming economically independent—which often means getting out of the ghetto; and bedoming recognized as a social asset to the community—which always takes time. (Skousen, p. 106)

There is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens. The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, and Irish in between),it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution. But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War. So all of this became America—a nation of minorities. (Skousen p.107)

The Black Minority

Providing equality for the blacks has never been approached with any degree of consensus. Some felt that with education and job opportunities the blacks could leap the culture gap just as other minorities had done. Others felt they should be made the beneficiaries of substantial government gratuities. Experience soon demonstrated, however, that government gratuities are as corrupting and debilitating to blacks as they are to the Indians [Native Americans] or any other minorities. The blacks themselves asked for equal opportunity at the hiring hall.

Violence Proves Counter-Productive

In the mid 1960s there were groups of Marxist agitators who move in among the blacks to promote direct action by violence. One of these was Eldridge Cleaver, who had been trained in Marxist philosophy and tactics. He became a leader for the Black Panthers. Cleaver describes the rationale behind their philosophy of violence. It was to destroy the whole economic and social structure of the United States so that blacks could enjoy equal right under an American Communist regime. (Skousen p.109)

The crescendo of violence increased year after year. During the summer of 1968 over a hundred American cities were burning. But the burning was always in black ghettos. But the burning and fire-bombing backfired. The black population began to realize it was only the homes of the blacks that were being burned. Other than police, it was primarily blacks that were being hurt in the melee of the riots. In the shoot-outs with the police, nineteen of the Black Panther leaders were killed. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded. He and his wife later fled to Cuba and then to other Communist countries.

The whole scenario of violence had proved tragically counter-productive. It temporarily jolted out of joint a broad spectrum of reforms which the blacks were really seeking and the rest of the nation was trying to provide.

Eldridge Cleaver Returns

Eldridge_Cleaver_1968After nearly eight years as an exile in Communist and Socialist countries, Eldridge Cleaver asked to be allowed to return to the United States and pay whatever penalty was due on charges pending against him. He and his wife were no longer atheists. They were no longer Communists. Those bitter years behind the iron and bamboo curtains had dispelled all the propaganda concerning “equality” and “justice” under Communism. Cleaver told the press: “I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else.” He then went on to say:

“I was wrong and the Black Panthers were wrong …We [black Americans] are inside the system and I feel that the number one objective for Black America is to recognize that they have the same equal rights under the Constitution as Ford or Rockefeller, even if we have no blue-chip stocks. But our membership in the United States is the supreme blue-chip stock and one we have to exercise.”

By 1981 Eldridge Cleaver had paid his final debt to society. soon after that he began accepting speaking engagements before schools, churches, community gatherings, and even prison groups to describe his new and yet profound appreciation for America.

He described the despondency which came over him when he found what a betrayal of human rights and human dignity Communism turned out to be. He described the long and strenuous intellectual struggle with his Marxist atheism before he recognized its fraudulent fallacies.

He frankly and patiently dialogued with university students still struggling with similar philosophical problems. He assured them, as Locke had done, that a persistent pursuit of the truth would bring them to the threshold of reality, where the Creator could be recognized and thereafter have a place in their lives. (Skousen, pp. 110-111)

Declaration_independenceThe Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

Next—

Principle 7: The proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not Provide Equal Things

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

 

History Facts: Remembering the War Heroes of D-Day Invasion

History Facts:

Remembering the War Heroes of D-Day Invasion

O’Donnell: Beyond Valor: Rangers Lead the Way on D-Day

That was far from the last time the Rangers would meet Germans face-to-face. The elite American forces led the way across Europe, their sacrifices ensuring that freedom and democracy would continue to thrive, as they do to this day.

Patrick K. O’Donnell

“We were about two hundred feet from the beach when a shell blew off the front of our landing craft, destroying the ramp,” recalled Ray Alm from B Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, which landed on Omaha’s deadly Dog Green Beach at approximately 7:40 a.m. on D-Day. “My two best buddies were right in front of me, and they were both killed. I was holding a .45 pistol and carrying a bazooka with eight shells; it was so heavy that I just went right under the water. So I had to let everything go except the shells.”

He continued, “When we were on the beach, there were two other Rangers and myself running, and a German machine gun was firing at us. We hid behind an anti-tank obstacle. The three of us ducked behind it. We then headed towards the front again. It was terrible; there were bodies all over the place. They wiped out almost the entire 116th Infantry Regiment; they just murdered them. They were floating all over the place, there was blood in the water—it was just dark.”

This June 6 marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. Nothing captures the drama and action of that day better than the words of the men who actually took part in the assault. Particularly poignant are the voices of the elite Army Rangers who led the way off bloody Omaha Beach.

Sadly, most of the men who remember that day have passed on. But their voices are immortalized in Beyond Valor: World War II’s Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat. For nearly twenty-five years, I’ve been interviewing American veterans from WWI to Iraq, and I have captured more than 4,000 oral histories from WWII veterans in elite units such as the Rangers. These men were my friends, men my daughter called uncle. In many cases, these great Americans did the impossible. Their individual actions changed history, and they did their duty in the face of tremendous odds.

On the morning of D-Day, members of the 5th and 2nd Ranger Battalions were making their way through the choppy waters off Normandy to their D-Day objectives. They were divided into three different groups, each focused on specific military targets. Their primary focus was the guns of Pointe du Hoc and the deadly German mortars on the high ground to the extreme left of Omaha.

For the bulk of the Rangers, including the 5th Battalion, their secondary objective if Pointe du Hoc failed was Omaha Beach. Faulty radar and failed radio transmissions led to a chain of events that put the 5th and several companies of the 2nd Rangers on their secondary objective: Omaha. At the right place, at exactly the right time, they led a crucial breakout.

Here are two of their stories:

“We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the ninety foot cliff. . . . When we got up on top we had only nine men left in my platoon,” recalled my dear friend Lt. Sid Salomon.

Salomon was one of the first Rangers on the beach. C Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion landed at 0645. Dodging mortar and machine-gun fire, the men scaled ninety-foot cliffs of Pointe-et-Raz-de-la-Percée. Under fire, the Rangers made it to the top and attacked the Germans in an effort to deny them crucial high ground over the Charlie sector of Omaha Beach.

“We had two platoons, each in its own landing craft,” Salomon said. “I was in charge of one, and the other platoon leader was in charge of the other. Our goal was to cross the beach, climb the cliff, and neutralize the mortars and machine guns that were positioned on top of a beach that intelligence had indicated could threaten the landing at Omaha Beach.”

The fight began even before the Rangers reached the shore. “The trip was tough coming in,” Solomon said. “Keep in mind, it was postponed due to rough seas. The men started getting sick. We were issued paper bags, like you get in airplanes. The men filled them up and threw them over the side. Some men started using their helmets. We could hear the ping of the machine gun bullets hitting the side of the landing craft, and mortar shells were landing near the landing craft. I could see the concentric circles formed by the shells hitting the water. It was quite something, of course. One of the men joked, ‘Hey, they’re firing at us.’ It added a little humor to the situation.”

When the landing craft hit the beach, Solomon was the first to exit the vessel. “When I jumped off, I held my tommy gun over my head. I jumped into not-quite-chest-high water, and it took a few seconds to get my feet on the ground. In the meantime, the second man, Sergeant Reed, jumped off to the left. I always figured that the first man out would be hit. Fortunately, the Germans didn’t know when the ramp would lower. But they had us zeroed in with their machine guns, and the second man, Reed, was hit. He had fallen down, wounded, and had slid underneath the ramp.”

Solomon dragged Reed to the water’s edge and told him, “Sergeant, this is as far as I can take you, I have to get along.”

Then he took off running. “A mortar shell landed right behind me and killed or wounded all of my mortar section. I got some of the shrapnel—it hit my back and I landed right on my face. I fell down in the sand and thought I was dead.” Solomon remembered.

But he refused to give up. “Right then and there, I said to myself that I wasn’t going to die. This was no place to be lying, so I took my maps, I got up, and ran toward the overhang of the cliff,” he recalled.

“An aid man came over to me and took my field jacket and shirt off and started digging shrapnel out of my back. These were the days before penicillin, and each man carried a sulfa pack, and he put it on my back.” The medic told him. “That’s all I can do for you now.”

Despite the pain, Solomon began to climb the ninety-foot cliff. “Each man had a six-foot piece of rope that had a noose at the end of it and, ideally, we were to link the ropes together and scale the cliff,” he explained. “We didn’t bother with that since, of course, so many men had gotten killed and wounded. . . . We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the cliff.”

But of the 37 men in the company, only nine would survive the climb.

Those nine had overcome tremendous odds, but the fighting — and the dying — weren’t finished yet. Salomon and a fellow platoon leader lay in a shellhole from where they could see the German trench they next needed to assault. “We were there only a minute or two and all of a sudden Bill Moody, the 1st Platoon commander, fell over on my shoulder. He had been killed by a bullet hole through his eyes,” Salomon recalled.

Without pausing to mourn, Salomon grabbed another of the Rangers who had made it to the top and said, “Let’s go!” They ran and jumped into the trench, following it until they came to a dugout. “I threw a white phosphorous grenade through the entrance and waited a minute,” Salomon explained. “We then sprayed the entrance.” With no one inside, they continued moving through the maze of trenches.

“We went a little further around a curve and were face to face with a German soldier. We were both equally stunned, but I grabbed him, and I figured this might be a good time to have a prisoner instead of killing him right then and there. I said, ‘Let’s send him down to the company commander,’ who was down at the beach with dead and wounded men maintaining order.”

“I sent the prisoner down the cliff,” he said. “I don’t know if he got down on his own or if they pushed him down—that was immaterial to me.”

It quickly became obvious that it would be silly to move much farther inland with so few men, Salomon said. “We proceeded to knock out a machine gun section and a mortar section. . . . We knocked out the German position and figured that we were doing our best by still holding our ground.”

***

“We could see the action from the landing craft as we came in,” recalled Ellis “Bill” Reed, a member of the U.S. Army 5th Ranger Battalion who fought at Omaha Dog White on D-Day. “There was a tremendous amount of firepower coming from both flanks. Machine gun fire and artillery fire was pouring in.”

Already, the beach in front of Reed and the other Rangers was littered with the bodies of Americans who had landed only to be gunned down by the Germans. Reed “had to run across about 150 yards of beach” with his platoon leader and his buddy Woody Doorman, who was a bangalore torpedo man. “Our job was to place the torpedo under the wire and detonate it, ripping a hole in the wire for the rest of the troops to move through.”

But before they could carry out their mission, they first had to reach the wire. “When we exited the landing craft many people had flotation belts, and if the water was over your neck you would turn upside down,” Reed remembered. “When we got off the boat and into the wet sand we had to run for the seawall. Men were dying around us, lying in different positions, and tanks were burning.”

Dashing behind the seawall, Reed heard General Cota, the commanding officer on the beach, utter the fateful words that became a motto for the Rangers: “Rangers, lead the way!”

Doorman and Reed did just that. “Woody and I had to assemble each piece of the torpedo, get up from behind the seawall, push the bangalore torpedo across the road on top of the bluff and put it under the concertina wire,” Reed explained. “Once we had the torpedo in place, we took the fuse wire out, pulled the fuse, and yelled, ‘Fire in the hole!’ and jumped back over the wall. The result, if it worked, was a hole in the concertina wire.”

With a laugh, Reed added, “They [the Germans] didn’t stop firing while we were doing this, if you know what I mean. They were firing down the line, and there was a lot of machine gun and mortar fire. I don’t know if I was so scared or what, but I moved as fast as I could to get everything set.” Still chuckling, he continued, “I made sure the fuse lighter went off, since we were told in our training that if it didn’t go off we were to sacrifice our bodies and lay on the concertina wire as the men stepped on us. So I made damn sure that the torpedo detonated.”

The torpedo worked as intended, blasting a hole in the German defenses and creating a crucial exit off Omaha Beach. “As the men moved through our holes in the wire, one of our scouts got cut in half by a machine gun,” Reed recalled. “I was told to fire the rifle grenade at a machine gun nest, but like everything else in the U.S. Army, it was a big dud. So at that point Lieutenant Dawson got up and charged it with his submachine gun and kept blasting. When we got up close they put their hands up. I remember that one German had his arm dangling by only a piece of flesh. That was our first visual face-to-face contact with the enemy.”

That was far from the last time the Rangers would meet Germans face-to-face. The elite American forces led the way across Europe, their sacrifices ensuring that freedom and democracy would continue to thrive, as they do to this day.

Truth Matters: Media Bias blacks out President Trump Memorial Day Patriotism

Truth Matters: 

Media Bias blacks out President Trump Memorial Day Patriotism

On Memorial Day, Trump Does Something That Would’ve Put Obama on Every Front Page

Joseph Curl

President Trump on Monday marked his first Memorial Day as commander in chief, heading to Arlington National Cemetery through the throngs of motorcycles participating in Rolling Thunder to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The large audience packed into the cemetery’s amphitheater cheered when Trump was introduced, and the president delivered a powerful tribute to America’s fallen service members, calling them “angels sent to us by God.”

“To every Gold Star family, God is with you, and your loved ones are with him,” Trump said. “They died in wars so that we could live in peace. Every time you see the sun rise over this blessed land, please know your brave sons and daughters pushed away the night and delivered for us all that great and glorious dawn.”

Of course, you wouldn’t know that Trump did that if you looked at the top newspapers in the country. In fact, you wouldn’t even know that Monday was Memorial Day, or that nearly every town across the United States held a parade to honor America’s troops.

The New York Times didn’t have anything on its front page about Memorial Day. It used a small teaser box at the bottom left corner to tout a story about “a soccer star’s farewell to A.S. Roma,” whatever that is. Not a word or a picture dedicated to America’s military branches and their sacrifice.

The Washington Post front page was full of anti-Trump stories, “Serving Intelligence to Trump in Small Bites” and “Budget Would Cut Civil Rights Position,” to name a few. And the main art showed a factory in Kentucky, not Trump or America’s veterans. The paper, whose new motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” did feature one tiny picture at the bottom of the page with a referral to the Metro page for a story about Memorial Day, but no mention or photo of Trump.

Only USA Today, among the country’s biggest papers, featured a shot of Trump laying the wreath, with a reference to an inside story and more pictures.

But above is the shot that, had former president Barack Obama done it, would’ve put him on every front page across the country. Since it was Trump, though, the country’s liberal papers decided not to print it.

Biblical Worldview, Character Education, and Moral Compass

Biblical Worldview, Character Education, and Moral Compass

Why the Bible Matters: Defining Right and Wrong

keyThere is a right and wrong to every question—Paying attention to your conscience is what helps you develop good character.

Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.

right-wrongsignOnward, press onward, the goal is in sight.

Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.

Blessings await you in doing what’s right!

Do what is right; let the consequence follow.

Battle for freedom in spirit and might;

and with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.

God will protect you; then do what is right!

~Anonymous; The Psalms of Life, Boston, 1857

 

See More Defining Moments

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 Birthright

More about Birthrightbirthright_cvr

A historical novel by C.A. Davidson

picnicwyouthIn this excerpt from the historical novel Birthright,  college history professor Jacob Nobles uses discovery teaching and ancient ruins at a historic site to lead his students in a discussion of truth, and discerning right from wrong.

      “Okay—” Preston spoke with caution. “I’ll give you that the Bible is actually a history. But why does it matter?

                “That is the million-dollar question …” Jacob smiled. “And you can find the answer here—for free!

                Jacob held up the Bible. “Now, Preston, you have asked why the Bible matters. Would you agree that the Bible is a history of God’s dealings with man?”

creationhands                “I guess you could say that. Apparently, somehow God’s version of the creation was given to Moses, and Moses wrote it down,” Preston commented carefully.

                “It makes sense to take God’s word for it,” Allison remarked with her usual bluntness. “After all, He was there when it happened—a distinction the rest of us cannot claim.”

                Preston shook his head. “Still, none of us were there for the creation process—not even Moses.”

                “That’s true.” Jacob chewed thoughtfully on his ham sandwich and inclined his head. “Hmm. So we have here two explanations for the Creation process—to keep it simple, we’ll call them two different stories. Since we were not present for the event, we’re forced to accept either one story or the other—on faith.”

                Puzzled, Preston tilted his head.

“What is faith, anyway?”

  “Well now, faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true,”[1] Josiah Bianco said.

 shepherdboy               Folding his arms across his chest, Preston surveyed the surrounding hills and glimpsed a boy leading a few sheep. “Are you saying that everybody just blindly follows …” He paused. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to offend.”

                “No offense taken.”

                “Don’t worry,” Ben said. “We all have done the same thing.”

                “Really?”

                “Of course. It’s called academic freedom.”

  “Sure. Bring it on!” Allison took a sip out of her can of grape juice. “Only frauds and liars are afraid to answer questions.”

                “Why is Dr. Marlow so afraid of other points of view?” Nola asked.

                “He doesn’t want to lose the debate!” Allison interjected.

“Yes. Debate is an important part of academic freedom, but anyone can win an argument without teaching truth. A friendly discussion with free exchange of ideas is more effective in discovering truth.” Jacob chuckled. “However, when you prefer to control what others say and think, truth can get in your way.

   “Now that we are away from the university, we can actually look at more than one point of view! We will look at two stories of the Creation—one, in the Bible, and the other, Dr. Marlow’s version.”

                “The Bible version seems too simple,” Preston said.

                “Well, what is Dr. Marlow’s version called?” Nola inquired.

                “Dr. Marlow believes in a theory called Natural Selection which, simply put, proposes that everything somehow creates itself by chance,” Jacob replied.

                “That doesn’t make sense.” Nola frowned in disagreement. “The human body—and mind—are complicated. Something can’t be produced by nothing.[2] My experience has shown me that nothing worthwhile happens by chance. Everything takes work, and effort, and planning.

                “Yes, Nola. That’s why some scientists say that the Bible history discloses an intelligent design, a purpose, or an orderly plan.”

                “Aren’t Bible stories for children?” Preston wondered.

                “Men struggle to explain their philosophy. The Bible explains the Creation so a child can understand—so that parents can teach their children through the ages. Who is more intelligent?” Jacob shrugged. “Anyway, the important thing is, who is telling the truth—Man, or God?”

                “Can you just assume there is a God?”

Preston asked.

Jacob laughed. “We can look at some evidence. Where is evidence of chance?”

            No one answered for a moment.

            Josiah Bianco chortled. “Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?” he quipped, quoting Isaiah.[1]

[1] Isaiah 29:16

“What about evidence of design?”

                “The ability to think, for one thing,” Allison said, “ …one of many.”

                “As I said, the human body,” Nola added, “and life itself. I know many very intelligent scientists and doctors, but no one can earimageduplicate an eye or an ear.”               

  Preston’s gaze rested momentarily upon Nola’s face—round blue eyes, delicate sculpted features like a work of art. “All right,” he said. “Let’s say God is the intelligent Creator. Couldn’t He have made man out of apes?”

“Of course, He could, but would He? He is a God of order. As Creator of earth and all living things, He set up the rules for justice and science. Why would He violate His own laws?”[3]

         “What do you mean?”

                “Okay, if the Bible is really a history, and if it is true that we humans are created in the image of God, how are we different from animals?”

                “We can reason, while animals use instinct,” Preston said. “You’ve already established that.”

teotihuacanserpent               “Humans can draw, read, and write,” Allison said. “I have yet to see an animal who could carve something like this creature.” She poked her finger into the big teeth of the dragon carving, but withdrew her hand quickly. “Yikes! I don’t think an animal would make something this weird, even if it could!”

Free Will

  Jacob grinned. “True. Also, you chose to come here today, others did not. Ruben left early; the rest of you stayed. What does that mean?”

                “People have the power to choose,” Ben said.

                “Yes, that’s called Free Will. We have no empirical evidence of such a thing, but let’s suppose we have here a creature who is half man and half ape—by whose laws would this creature live—by the laws of man or nature? You’re the law student here, Preston. What do you think?”

   “Uh …”

                “If the creature is half man, would it be fair to make him live like an animal? Or if he is half animal, and cannot reason fully as a man, would it be just to impose upon him the laws of men?”

                “This is really getting confusing!”

   “Yes, Preston, it is confusing. But when He had completed the creation, God blessed human beings and all living things to multiply, each after their own kind.[4] There is nothing confusing about that.”

                A flutter of wings announced the arrival of a dove which lit next to his mate upon a limb of the tall tree.

How Do You Know What Is True and Right?

“The human soul can never die. So you see, it is created, not evolved, because God is not the author of confusion.[5] Therefore, to avoid confusion, would you agree we need some kind of law to bring order and justice to our lives?”

                “Absolutely,” Preston said. “We must have justice.”

 KJV Bible              “Let’s think for a moment about the two kinds of laws—which law provides true justice? Dr. Marlow makes no distinction between humans and animals. His law is simple: those who are strong rule and prevail over everything and everyone else.” Jacob placed his right hand firmly upon the rock and continued. “The law of Nature requires animals to kill other animals for food. In the law of the Bible, on the other hand, God tells us not to kill or eat other people. Why not?”

“It’s wrong!” The students exclaimed indignantly, in vigorous unison.

                “How do you know it’s wrong?”

                Jacob waited.

                “Well,” Preston began slowly. “There simply is no justice in murder and cannibalism. I don’t know why … Somehow I just know that.”

compass liahona   “Men often create laws to try to change God’s commandments,” Jacob continued, “but God’s laws never change. When He created our eternal souls, He planted those unchangeable moral laws in our minds and hearts. It’s called—”

                “Our conscience.” Preston nodded. “Of course! I see that now.”

                “Yes. The Bible contains our true moral compass in writing. And that, Preston, is why the Bible matters.”

birthright_cvrCopyright © 2016 by C. A. Davidson

More about Birthright

[1] Hebrews 11:1

[2] John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Great Books of the Western World, vol.35

[3] These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1:59-60

[4] Genesis 1:22,24

[5] 1 Corinthians 14:33

Memorial Day: Museum Honors War Heroes

National WWII museum: WE OWE THEM

vetsweowethemHe blinked his eyes rapidly and tears began to moisten his 90-year-old cheeks as memories of war flooded his mind.

“I guess everybody has those feelings,” World War II veteran Harry Robinson told AFA Journal about his recent trip to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Robinson grew up on a farm in Clay County, Mississippi, and voluntarily joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 18 years old. After his enlistment, he rode a train from Jackson, Mississippi, to San Diego, California, and then spent two-and-one-half years overseas. Robinson served as a cook and a baker, so he didn’t experience actual combat other than an invasion of Guam that included his platoon. And he was at home on leave when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

But the war was real; Robinson was a part of it and forever impacted by it.

“I have forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten,” Robinson said. His memories became reality again as he and his family toured the museum.

“I’m so thankful I came back [from war] without a bruise or anything,” he said while fighting back tears. “So many people lost their lives over there. I hope that visitors to the museum recognize the fact that so many gave their lives.”

The National World War II Museum opened its doors June 6, 2000, after its founder, the late  historian Steven Ambrose, had the idea to build it in memory of Andrew Jackson Higgins. Higgins built the boats that were used as landing craft by the United States to win WWII. Higgins Shipyard in New Orleans built some 20,000 of those boats, thus the reason the museum is located in the Big Easy.

“The museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world,” William M. “Bill” Detweiler, J.D., told AFA Journal. “It tells why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. That’s our mission statement.”

Detweiler is the museum’s consultant for military and veterans affairs.

“The museum is a passion for me,” Detweiler said. He has been with the museum since before there was a museum, dating back to his service as national commander of the American Legion (1994-95). During that time he was in a dispute with the Smithsonian Institute over the display of the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress WWII bomber that became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb.

“I got involved on behalf of the American Legion and spent my whole year as national commander trying to defend the courage and honor of the men and women of the war years and to defend President Truman’s decision to drop the bombs to bring the war to a conclusion,” Detweiler explained.

Because of his work, he was elected to the board of the museum a few years later.

Ceremonies
Presently, Detweiler handles all of the outreach and relations dealing with the military on both the local and national levels. This involves special ceremonies presented by the museum as well as assisting with special functions initiated by branches of the military.

“We host major ceremonies on patriotic holidays like Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the Fourth of July,” Detweiler said.

Plans are still being finalized for this year’s Memorial Day celebration, but in years past it has consisted of a speaker, music by the museum’s Navy band and Marine Corps band, and a POW/MIA ceremony provided by a Jr. ROTC cadet program from one of the local high schools.

“It’s a very elaborate ceremony that’s put on by these high school students in memory of those who have paid the supreme sacrifice and have been lost in war,” Detweiler explained. The Memorial Day program is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. (CT) and is open to the public.

On June 6, the museum is planning a major observance to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. There is a related event planned almost every day during the week of June 1-8.

Education
The museum reaches out not only to veterans and their loved ones but also to families, schools, students and the community. The purpose of the museum is to help people understand WWII, how it influences the world today and what future generations can learn from it.

“In order to keep young people interested, the exhibits have to be such that they appeal to younger people and that they raise their interests and keep their attention,” Detweiler said.

That’s why the museum always has an ongoing project and is constantly incorporating advanced technology to make the museum relevant both now and in the future.

One of the most powerful aspects of the museum, according to Detweiler, is a feature presentation titled Beyond All Boundaries that runs daily on the hour. It’s a 4-D film produced by actor Tom Hanks that tells the story of the war in less than an hour.

The museum also houses thousands of oral histories, statements from WWII veterans and members of the home front. One of the museum pavilions has been remodeled to look like a train station from the 1940s. Visitors purchase tickets and board a train car that uses technology to take them on a computerized ride through the countryside in order to experience life during the era.

At the museum’s Stage Door Canteen, bands play, the Victory Belles sing, and swing dance lessons are taught on occasion. In the restoration facility, visitors can watch as men and women work to restore a WWII patrol boat similar to the one on which President John F. Kennedy served.

The United States Freedom Pavilion, which opened earlier this year, houses five vintage WWII planes. The planes hang 90 feet in the air, and catwalks allow visitors to walk right up to the planes and look inside them.

There are various hands-on educational projects, events and exhibits like the Classroom Victory Garden Project that teaches elementary students the importance of community during a time of war. The museum holds summer camps for children as well as various activities for families including Night at the Museum, when a child and parent stay in the museum overnight, watch movies and make crafts.

“We’re an educational facility,” Detweiler explained. “We are not a museum of guns and bullets. We’re not about gore. No veteran who has ever seen combat wants to see war or combat again.

“We want families to realize the sacrifices and what it took, what these men and women did, in order to earn and protect the freedoms that we continue to enjoy today,” he said. “We really encourage families who still have a living World War II vet or family member who was working on the home front during World War II to come on in and take a look. It’s worth the visit. It really is.”

– See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/may/features/national-wwii-museum-reminds-us-%E2%80%A6-we-owe-them.aspx#sthash.8QMGv7Rg.dpuf

 

For more information:
National World War II Museum
504-528-1944
info@nationalww2museum.org – See more at: http://www.afajournal.org/archives/2010-present/2014/may/features/national-wwii-museum-reminds-us-%E2%80%A6-we-owe-them.aspx#sthash.8QMGv7Rg.dpuf

Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Dinner Topics for Memorial Day

Support, Donate to Paralyzed Veterans

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Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Some gave all

keyLord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget! ~Rudyard Kipling

memorialdaysomegaveallTeddy James, AFA Journal

In Flanders Fields* by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.
*Public domain

To some, it is just a flag, resting in a triangular box on a mantle. To others, it explains why there’s an odd number of place settings at the table, why the opposite side of the bed stays cold, why there’s a vacant seat at graduation, why a bride walks down the aisle alone.

To some, it is just a day, an excuse for a three-day weekend to barbeque and celebrate the beginning of summer. To others, it is a day to be alone, remembering daughters they can’t hug, dads they can’t call, friends they couldn’t save, brothers who saved them with the ultimate sacrifice.

Who we remember

soldierbrave-paulrsmith-medalhonorArmy Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was part of B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division. On April 4, 2003, Smith participated in building an impromptu prisoner of war holding area in Baghdad, Iraq. During the construction, his unit was attacked by a group of Iraqi fighters. During the battle, an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier was hit, wounding the three soldiers inside. Smith saw to the evacuation of the injured soldiers. There was an aid station directly behind Smith and his team with already over 100 combat casualties. Smith and his team were the only obstacle between Iraqi attackers and the aid station.

Smith climbed into a damaged M113 to man its .50 caliber machine gun and ordered the driver to reposition the vehicle so he could fire on the enemy, leaving himself unprotected and exposed to enemy fire. He went through three boxes of ammunition before his gun fell silent.

Afterward, Smith’s team found him slumped over the machine gun. His armor showed 13 bullet holes. Before he died, he had wiped out over 50 enemy combatants and saved many American lives. SFC Smith was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Smith and countless other heroes who have given their all for America are who Memorial Day is for.

Why we remember

vetsweowethemNo fewer than two dozen cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Waterloo, New York, the original site in 1966. While the site is disputed, it is clear the tradition started around 1866 as a way to memorialize soldiers who died during the Civil War.

In 1868, General John Legend, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued this proclamation: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

soldiersfallenlestweforget2General Legend chose the date because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.

In the little town of Columbus, Mississippi, also claiming to be the birthplace of Decoration Day, the tradition began with families entering cemeteries and caring for the graves of Confederate soldiers. It expanded when a group of women noticed local Union soldiers’ graves in disrepair and took it on themselves to correct the situation by pulling weeds, placing flowers, and paying respect.

The sentiment covered the country, and today, Memorial Day pays homage to those who surrendered their lives for a purpose they deemed bigger than their personal safety.

Memorial Day’s storied history continues to live in prose, legend, and lyrics. Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” a stirring poem published in 1915. The legend says he was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in World War I.

Inspired by McCrae’s poem, Moina Michael responded with “We Shall Keep the Faith.” She wrote:

soldiersfallenlestweforget1And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Michael decided to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of all soldiers whose blood was shed not only in Flanders fields, but also everywhere across the globe. Today many veterans’ groups hand out poppies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

How we remember
libertyMorrill Worcester won a trip to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery when he was 12. The image of rows and rows of headstones lodged itself in the mind of the preteen. The sight taught him real people gave their lives to pay for the freedom he enjoyed every day. That lesson never left him.

Years later, Worcester founded his successful business, Worcester Wreaths, in Harrington, Maine. One year he had a surplus of Christmas wreaths, and the image of Arlington’s unadorned headstones came back to his mind. With the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME-R) and other volunteers, Worcester placed the wreaths in an older section at Arlington.

Worcester and his team quietly kept the tradition until 2005 when an image of the gravestones, semi-covered in snow and decorated with an evergreen wreath and hand-tied red bow, took the Internet by storm. Support poured in from people wanting to donate money for more wreaths in Arlington; others asked how they could start laying wreaths in national or state cemeteries close to home.

From the outpouring of support, Worcester and a team developed Wreaths Across America, and the movement continues to grow. In 2013, the volunteer wreath brigade laid over 540,000 Remembrance Wreaths at 908 locations. The wreaths are another fitting tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Express your thanks
• Sponsor a wreath now that will be laid on December 13, National Wreaths Across America Day.
• Volunteer to lay wreaths at your local cemetery.
• Start a community fundraiser.
• Make Memorial Day an opportunity to serve those left behind. Spouses and children of deceased soldiers should hold a
special place in the heart of every American. They paid – and are paying – a price too.
• Build a relationship with the family of a fallen soldier. Learn their needs and meet them.
• Make this Memorial Day more than an excuse to barbeque. Let it be the starting point of a lifetime honoring, respecting, and remembering our military heroes.
• Contact U.S. senators or congressmen or local veterans organizations to ask for information on local Memorial Day events or projects.

For more information, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org or call 877-385-9504.

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/may/some-gave-all/

Veterans Affairs: Soldier Suicide Awareness

Memorial Day meaning and Veterans Affairs:

Soldier Suicide Awareness—

Churches, pastors, civilians needed to ‘ASIST’ in preventing soldier suicides

Teddy James

“Are you thinking about killing yourself?”

The question is startling, shocking, and necessary for many in the armed forces.

The problem is big
“In the world of the military, we are killing ourselves quicker than the enemy is,” Chaplain/Lt. Col. Terry Partin told AFA Journal.

Roughly 22 soldiers take their lives every day, according to the most recent studies released by the Pentagon. That statistic has been true since 2011. In 2014, the latest year a large study was done, the Army’s suicide rate for active-duty soldiers was 25 per 100,000. Compare that to 13 per 100,000 in the civilian world.

Scientists and mental health experts have long studied the issue, but have been unable to explain why this suicide epidemic exists.

“The military may not fully understand why this is happening, but leadership is trying to meet the challenge head on,” Partin said. “I cannot state how much I appreciate the focus on this. They have made it a priority to understand the issues and provide training and help for all soldiers. Beyond that, I have to commend the military chaplains who are engaging so deeply with their troops and doing their best to help them.”

The solution is growing
In the last few years, the Department of Defense has begun using material developed in-house by military personnel and training developed outside the military for chaplains and soldiers interested in helping at-risk soldiers.

One such training, created by Living Works (livingworks.net), is ASIST, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.

“ASIST does not seek to make someone a therapist,” Partin said. “It follows an intervention model. Think of it like first aid. If a person trained in first aid approaches a car wreck, he isn’t going to perform surgery or do any intensive medical activity. He will do his best to keep that person alive long enough to get him proper help. That is the same goal of ASIST.”

ASIST is used by soldiers and those involved in the lives of soldiers, but it is applicable and beneficial to anyone desiring to help people around them.

The answer is you
Partin and other leaders of ASIST want to see churches and community leaders go through the training as well.

“I encourage anyone in a position that regularly gives them opportunities to help others to seek out ASIST,” Partin said. “That includes pastors, teachers, anyone who may be called in moments of crisis.”

For pastors specifically, Partin said it is important for them to make a special effort.

“Many soldiers won’t go to their commanding officers with personal issues, especially if those issues include suicidal thoughts. There is still a stigma surrounding that concept in the military. But pastors can open that door simply by having a strong, one-on-one relationship with the soldiers in his church. Open that door, build that bridge, and pray for an opportunity to speak into the lives of the soldiers and soldiers’ families in your congregation.”

For more information about attending an ASIST class, or to set up training at your church, visit livingworks.net.

Memorial Day: Remembering World War 2 Heroes

Memorial Day: Remembering World War 2 Heroes

This World War II Soldier’s Story Reminds Us of Why Memorial Day Matters

James Carafano

memorial-day2arlingtonIf any day is more than just a day, then Memorial Day is it.

Sometimes remembering just one soldier reminds us why.

His name was Lawrence Gordon. He grew-up on a hard-scrabble farm in Canada. After Pearl Harbor, he decided to join the American Army. The Americans had better “kit.”

The Army sent Gordon into the center of the storm, as the allies battled from the beaches of Normandy breaking through the German defenses and then racing to encircle the enemy as it withdrew from France.

Gordon was on the sharp edge of the bayonet. His cavalry unit, in thinly skinned armored vehicles, was dispatched way to the front or the flanks to find the enemy before the more heavily armored columns were called up to engage. Sometimes “finding” the enemy started with a wild exchange of gunfire or the unexpected burst of mortar rounds. Patrols could go from tense silence to vicious firefights in seconds. Gordon’s letters home to the family and his girl kept up their spirits with assurances he was safe and surrounded by dependable comrades and delivered a travelogue of his little unit’s march across France.

One day the letters stopped.

The family received a partially burned wallet. They knew it was his. The picture of his girl was singed but still recognizable. But other than a few personal effects, there was no explanation of what had happened to Lawrence Gordon—and no body. He was missing in action—and would remain so for almost 70 years.

A documentary, “Honoring a Commitment,” by a young filmmaker named Jeb Henry, tells the extraordinary story of how his loved ones found Private Gordon and brought him home.

The new film, recently screened at The Heritage Foundation in partnership with National Review, is part detective story and part love story, a journey of a family’s determined unrelenting effort to find and honor a brave man.

Remembering Private Gordon is important for all of us. Any remembrance of war that doesn’t include the telling of individual stories lessens the purpose of the day–and why it is important that we remember.

Sometimes the enormity of war overwhelms the truth that all great struggles are just the sum of individual stories. Each is more than just the story of one soldier’s service and sacrifice. Their service ripples across their families, friends and their communities. Memorial Day reminds us it is the noble sacrifice of many that makes us who we are.

Every soldier’s story of World War II is worth telling. Every story of every soldier in every war has value. Every generation of American soldiers is the greatest generation. What is most extraordinary about the extraordinary story of Private Gordon and his extraordinary family is that it is singularly representative of what the fight for freedom and the eternal struggle for the preservation of liberty really means.

MemorialDay1They Stood For Something and We Owe Them Something’: Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day Speech

Remembering Those Who Never Came Home