Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

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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/

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Culture Wars: Gold Star Widow releases call with Trump; Reveals Democrat Smear Campaign against President Trump that Dishonors Fallen Soldiers

Culture Wars:

There are so many liberal lies swirling around by anti-American hate groups bent on destroying a duly elected patriotic President. It is important to know the truth, which is the purpose of this blog. Below is an actual call President Trump made to a Gold Star widow in April. After that, General Kelly sets the record straight in the face of a very un-compassionate smear campaign by a democrat congresswoman. We all must diligently discern truth from falsehood. Consider the fruits of the anti-American Left’s relentless smear campaign: hatred against God, hatred against decent Americans and American heroes. ~C.D.

Gold Star Widow releases call with Trump; Reveals Democrat Smear Campaign against President Trump that Dishonors Fallen Soldiers

Truth about Trump

Gold Star Widow Shares Her Call with President Trump

Gold star widow Natasha De Alencar released the audio of a phone conversation she had with President Donald Trump in April about the death of her husband who was killed in Afghanistan.

“I am so sorry to hear about the whole situation. What a horrible thing, except that he’s an unbelievable hero,” Trump told her in the call about her husband Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, which The Washington Post released.

“Thank you. I really, really appreciated it,” she said. “I really do, sir.”

Natasha De Alencar had just returned home on April 12 after making T-shirts and pillowcases in her husband’s memory when the Army casualty assistance officer told her there was someone on the phone for her. It was President Trump.

Days before, two Army men told her that her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, had been killed in Afghanistan on April 8.

De Alencar was killed during a firefight with Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan. He was a member of the 7th Special Forces Group.

He left behind five children — Deshaune, 20, Octavia, 18, ­Rodrigo, 16, Tatiyana, 13, and Marcos, 5 — and his wife of 15 years.

Trump opened by saying how sorry he is about the “whole situation,” before adding that De Alencar’s husband was “an unbelievable hero.”

“At that moment when my world was upside down and me and my kids didn’t know which way we were going, it felt like I was talking to just another regular human,” De Alencar said.

Later in the call, Trump invited De Alencar to the White House, telling her, “If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office,” before asking about her oldest son, Deshaun, who is playing college football at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo.

De Alencar told Trump that her son had received a scholarship, and Trump asked whether it was an academic or sports scholarship. (It was an academic scholarship.)

The conversation then shifted to De Alencar’s four other children. Trump asked her to say hello to them for him and to “tell them their father was a great hero that I respected.”

The phone call ended with Trump repeating his invitation to the White House and advising De Alencar to take care of herself. In total, the conversation lasted just under four minutes.

“It was a moment of niceness that we needed because we were going through hell,” De Alencar said.

Trump also told the widow if she is ever in Washington D.C. that she is welcome in the Oval Office.

“If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office,” he said. “You just come over and see me because you are just the kind of family … this is what we want.”

“Say hello to your children, and tell them your father he was a great hero that I respected,” Trump said. “Just tell them I said your father was a great hero.”

 

RUSH LIMBAUGH: I want to go through the audio sound bites. This happened yesterday. It happened after the program yesterday, the Chief of Staff John Kelly going to the press room in the White House and making his statement in the middle of this controversy over whether or not Trump knows what to say and says the right things when he calls the families of military people killed in action.

RUSH: Now before setting up General Kelly, I want to go back, and this is a montage of what the Obama administration told Gold Star families after Benghazi.

RUSH:it was a premeditated terrorist attack and the video had nothing to do with it. You want to talk about lying to Gold Star families?

Setting the Record Straight: Chief of Staff John Kelly talks about His Own Son’s Sacrifice

As reporters shouted questions, Kelly responded, “Is anyone here a gold star parent or sibling?”

The room was silent.

 

Gen. Kelly Serves: Moving Defense of American Soldiers, Gold Star Families, POTUS..

…WH COS: ‘Stunned’ Rep. Wilson Politicized President’s Call…Is Nothing Sacred?…

…’Mad Hatter’ Dissed: ‘Empty barrels make the most noise’

 

KELLY: Most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, or Coast Guardsmen in combat. So let me tell you what happens. Their buddies wrap them in whatever passes as a shroud, puts them on a helicopter as a routine and sends them home. Their first stop along the way is when they’re packed in ice, typically at the airhead, and then they’re flown to usually Europe, where they’re then packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base where Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them and meticulously dresses them in the uniform with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service. And then puts them on another airplane linked up with a casualty officer escort that takes them home.

KELLY: Hours after my son was killed, his friends were calling us from Afghanistan telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really matter. If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There’s no perfect way to make that phone call. When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it, because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. It’s a nice to-do in my opinion, in any event. He asked me about previous presidents. And I said I can tell you that President Obama, who was my Commander in Chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family.

RUSH: There you go. Now, I don’t know what you’ve heard about this, but when this kerfuffle began and Trump was being hit from all sides, as always, he brought in General Kelly and he mentioned that very point. That Obama didn’t take the time to call General Kelly or his family. Then we got stories about how Kelly was outraged and shamed and sorry that Trump had chosen to politicize the death of his son.

Well, I guess that wasn’t true either, because here’s Kelly setting the record straight. Obama didn’t call him. The Drive-Bys and everybody involved wanted to make it look like Trump had lied because that’s what they always try to make it look like. So they sit there shocked and devastated by what they’ve heard. But they get over it pretty quickly, because none of this is going to shape in any way their take on this event. Hearing the truth, hearing the details, does not deter the forces arrayed against Donald Trump on this. Another salient point in that bite is General Kelly also confirming that he told President Trump not to do it, it’s a tough call. It’s difficult to know what to say.

We have people whose job it is to inform the parents. Do you know what that policy is, by the way? You’ve seen it. You’ve seen it portrayed in movies, where a mother or father or family is happily engaged and getting ready for the day and there’s a knock on the door. The mother or father answers the door and it’s two uniformed military personnel.

The one thing I didn’t know is that the policy is for the uniformed military personnel who are going to convey the information to the family show up before dawn, and they park outside the home and they wait until very first light, before people may even be up. And at first light, they approach the front door and knock on it.

And the theory being that this needs to be the first thing the family hears in their day. As opposed to at 10:00 when people are gone, the whole family is not there. As opposed to later that night, it’s best to do this at the beginning of the day. And there is a studied policy for this based on learned experience with all this. And General Kelly told Trump don’t do it, it’s a difficult thing to do. They’re not expecting to hear from you, so don’t do it. Trump told Kelly he wanted to do it, and did it. And here’s Kelly explaining that.

KELLY: I think he very bravely does make those calls. So he called four people the other day and expressed his condolences in the best way that he could. And he said to me: “What do I say?” I said to him, “Sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families. But let me tell you what I tell them. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me, because he was my casualty officer. He said: ‘Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died –‘” and the four cases we’re talking about, Niger, my son’s case in Afghanistan, “‘– when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends.’” That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day.

RUSH: Okay. So there’s Kelly explaining what he told Trump that he says. He said that Trump asked him what to say. Well, you know when I first heard, by the way, when this really whacko Democrat Congresswoman from down here in Florida — I mean, she’s a piece of work. She’s out there claiming, “My kids are going to recognize me as a rock star.” She thinks she’s really popular now because the White House is talking about her.

He said, “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed.” Trump had his own way of verbalizing that. But the fact that they harped on this, and lying about the fact that Trump didn’t even call somebody and then promised to send somebody $25,000 and Trump didn’t send the money — when he did send the money. The check was sent. (sigh) It just… Every day, every day these people are on the assault.

Empty Barrel: Nothing’s Sacred

To me, “Empty Barrel” is an apt metaphor for Wilson. Her total lack of compassion or respect for those who gave their lives for her freedom to express her hatred makes one question if her soul is empty as well. ~C.D.

KELLY: I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning — and brokenhearted — at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero. He knew what he was getting himself into, because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist. He enlisted, and he was where he wanted to be — exactly where he wanted to be — with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. It absolutely stuns me. I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life? The dignity of life was sacred. That’s gone. Religion? That seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families? I think that left in the convention over the summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield… I just thought that that might be sacred.

KELLY: I went to the dedication of the new FBI field office in Miami, and it was dedicated to two men who were killed in a firefight in Miami against drug traffickers. There were family members there. Some of the children that were there were only 3 or 4 years old when their dads were killed on that street in Miami-Dade. Three of the men that survived the fight were there and gave a rendition of how brave those men were and how they gave their lives. And a congresswoman stood up, and — in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise — stood up there in all of that, and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money.

And she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money — the $20 million — to build the building. And she sat down. And we were stunned, stunned that she’d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. I still hope, as you write your stories — and I appeal to America — that let’s not let this maybe last thing that is held sacred in our society: A young man, a young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country.

Let’s try to somehow keep that sacred. But it eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.

My Analysis of General Kelly’s Remarks