May 15, 2007

A Spark, An Ember, A Tiny Flame, A Conflagration

The title of this post is the state of my mind since May 12, 2007 when I received an email from my friend and fellow conservative Lew Waters. This is a convoluted post, but one that has weighed heavily on my mind for several days as I decided what I needed to say. This was, to put it bluntly, too important for me to just put up a post linking to another post though Lew's post is one great read. This goes to my core, my essence, what it means to me to be an American, and a conservative.

My earliest remembrance of war, killing, and those left behind was in '52 or '53 when Dad had returned from the Korean War. He and mom had gone to some kind of shindig and left us 4 kids at the after hours child care center on base at Fort Benning. I remember one very nice lady who had brought chocolate covered cherries for all the kiddies and I remarked on that to Mom and Dad when they picked us up much later that evening. I recall that Dad said something about her husband being shot down over North Korea and killed in action. I remember living in San Antonio when Dad was in Korea and missing him greatly, but of having no understanding whatsoever of where he was or why he was not with us. It was later that year that I began to understand what my Dad did, he was a Warrior, a Soldier, an Infantryman (the Queen of Battle!)

Over the next few years, a special holiday came to mind as I took part in celebrations of one kind or another, visits to a military cemetery, placing flags at graves of friends of Dads, watching parades and listening to military bands and the sorrowful sounds of a bugle, blowing Taps. A dirge for the fallen.

Memorial Day you should be thinking, the last Monday of May, the day in which Americans world wide honor those fallen in our defense. The first Memorial Day wasn't called that, it was called Decoration Day.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
Memorial Day, a day of sadness, but yet too of rejoicing! Rejoicing for the lives of the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who have given all for us. A day in which "Flanders Fields" is read, time and time again.
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.
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.

Which in turn, inspired Monia Michael to write another brief, but so very meaningful poem also.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
You will note that I have emphasized parts of both poems, because to me, those are telling verses, strong verses and verses that proclaim to the world that America will always stand ready to defend ourselves, defend freedom, defend democracy even at the cost of our beloved best.

I take great umbrage at the thought that anyone, anywhere, at any time would denigrate our fallen, our dead, our heroes who gave their lives, not willingly, but with conviction. Not always bravely, though to stand before bullets and bombs, before traps and torpedoes is brave enough in its own right, but always as Americans doing the right thing. Always!

Too be sure, we have had our share of brigands and blackguards, but for the most part, we have had individuals who knew what they were about and though they may not have known all of the politics of a particular piece of war-making, they knew that they were part of America.

Memorial Day thus, is sacred, a day to commemorate those who have given the last thing they had to give for an ideal that not all may have understood, but all were a part of. And so it is with anger, a high degree of anger that I post this post, and feel "A Spark, An Ember, A Tiny Flame, A Conflagration" because one of our candidates for the presidency has chosen to use Memorial Day to make petty points, to put himself up as "leader" when he is not leading, but pandering to the most base instincts that we have. One who decries Two Americas, but always chooses to live a the top of only one of those two.

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm talking about John Edwards, one term Senator, one time VP nominee and full time rats behind. Edwards has taken politicking to a new low and has published a website to garner support for his "anti-war" stance. In the fullness of time however, Edwards not only voted for the war, he co-sponsored with Joe Lieberman (I-Conn. - then a Democrat) .J.RES.46, the Iraq War Resolution because not only, in Edwards Words, was it the right thing to do, but because he wanted (later) to be elected VP. As was mentioned in a conversation with George Stephanopoulos when questioned about his initial Iraq war stance and his later support of that vote:

But Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe last month wrote a story that said that you did not counsel that kind of candor during the 2004 campaign. Here’s what he wrote. He said (with graphic on screen): “According to several Kerry-Edwards campaign aides, Edwards argued repeatedly that the two should stand by their votes, even after it had become apparent that Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor collaborative ties with the Al Qaeda… ‘I specifically remember Edwards having a very distinct take,’ says one person in attendance… ‘We should stand by our votes, say we would vote that way again. If you admit a mistake, it shows weakness in time of war. That’s what the Republicans want us to do.’
So, now Mr. Edwards, you want to do what the netroots want you to do, rub the faces of our fallen into the dirt via your changing of your mind, not because you have thought about it, but because you want the vote of the far left to get a nomination and you don't mind trashing the dead to do it.

Lew noted in his email:

John Edwards has put a new website up Support The Troops. End The War. proclaiming they are "reclaiming patriotism." What I see as totally outrageous is a call for sheeple followers of his to create signs calling for an end to the war at picnics and then display them at Memorial Day Parades. Equally outrageous is he wants photos taken of these actions and sent to him so he can display such disrespectful actions against our Fallen Heroes on the new website.

As a Veteran, Memorial Day is a Sacred Day to remember those who gave their all to keep us free. It is not a day to be used by opportunistic Politicians as a cheap stunt pandering to the anti-war left!"

This Memorial Day, let us remember our fallen heroes. And when voting day comes, if you are a democrat, also remember the perfidity of the far left in general, and John Edwards in particular and vote for someone else. And, come November 2008, on election day, remember also who is willing to prosecute a war against a terrible and implacable foe and vote for that person, because waving a white flag is not an option if western civilization is to survive.

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Posted by GM Roper at May 15, 2007 09:15 AM | TrackBack


You've nailed it. I need say no more except I know the gratitude of very is felt for you expressing what needs to be said.

Posted by tad at May 15, 2007 09:13 AM

To those who have never served, or to those that have forgotten the sacrifice of their friends and family that did serve, Memorial Day holds little meaning...

To those that would give this country away to our enemies, Memorial Day holds NO meaning...

I think that would pretty well describe Mr. Edwards...

GM, this IS a great post, you're getting the hang of this blogging thing my friend...

Posted by TexasFred at May 15, 2007 09:20 AM

George - absolutely correct and very, very well written. I'm going to post on this later today, if you don't mind. It is important that I link to it so that people can read the entire thing.

The professional warrior HATES war more than anyone - while at the same time he/she knows the necessity of it. For John "Silky Pony" Edwards to in any way dishonor the fallen is despicable and reprehensible in the extrreme. Particularly when we KNOW that he is doing it out of pure ambition.

Posted by Gayle Miller at May 15, 2007 09:20 AM

A big problem with the left is the definition of what is worth dying for. To them, battles in Iraq are not a war worthy of soldiers and Marines being sent off to. They don't see this as fighting for America. The left will never see too many fights worth the lives of anyone, American or otherwise. I hate to say it but even a nuclear attack would not rattle the liberals very much. They would blame America first before fighting for her.

Great post GM!! As always.

Posted by Raven at May 15, 2007 01:05 PM

Fabulous post, George, from someone who has been there (unlike former Senator Edwards). Well said.................

Posted by Bald-Headed Geek at May 15, 2007 02:50 PM

A great post. Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

Posted by Keepitreal at May 15, 2007 04:27 PM

GM, that is a very touching and eloquently written piece. Politicians like Edwards, from either party, have no business in government.

Many of us have conacted him via Edwards Campaign Contact Form at his campaign website to vent our feelings about this to him. If any one else feels a mind to do so, please do.

Thank you for such a well written post, I enjoyed reading it.

Posted by LewWaters at May 15, 2007 06:34 PM

We forget that politicians have to keep justifying and rejustifying themselves. We think they will just shut up when painted into an obvious corner. Of course they won't. They pay people to come up with ideas to get them out of corners, usually by going on the offensive in some way. So Edwards is embracing with energy what had previously been the position of the sappy, bumper-sticker left - that wanting to bring the troops home quickly is a method of supporting them.

As bizarre as it sounds when put in simple sentences, this gambit will prove popular with some. Edwards is providing them with an excuse, which is what some were looking for.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at May 15, 2007 07:37 PM

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