Memorial Day Counsel: Accelerate
As we celebrate Memorial Day, the innocuously dubbed “unofficial start of summer,” let us pause to commemorate those for whom the day was intended—our fallen servicemen.
Over the years, some quarters have come to equate dissent with the highest form of patriotism. Such is one’s prerogative, emancipated as we are from the tyranny of despotism. Lest we forget, however, if not for the willingness of our forebears—and their equally heroic contemporaries serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today—to heed the trumpet’s call and leave home and hearth, often to far away shores, none of us would be sufficiently free to indulge our most public expressions of discontent. For that blessing and countless others, we are profoundly indebted to our soldiers and Marines, airman and sailors, who have made so selflessly the ultimate sacrifice.
More than forty years ago, in November of 1965, Colonel Hal Moore was summoned to shepherd his battalion, the 1st / 7th Cavalry Regiment, into a remote and desolate clearing near the Cambodian border. There, beneath a foreboding mountainous outcropping in the bowels of the Ia Drang Valley, Moore and his men waged a desperate battle for survival against a numerically superior NVA force. Ultimately, the skill and raw courage of Moore’s air cavalry troopers coupled with solicitous supporting fires permitted the beleaguered battalion to emerge from the battle triumphant but well blooded. Seventy nine American soldiers were killed during the course of the three day battle.
Years later, the deaths of his men continue to haunt and inspire Moore. “When the heartbeat of one soldier stops forever,” he firmly but patiently advises, “the heartbeat of our nation should accelerate, driving us to ensure that his life was not sacrificed in vain.”
On Memorial Day, and every day thereafter, may our citizenry exercise and enjoy the freedoms of this great country, while always endeavoring to thank the draftsmen of that birthright by honoring Moore’s eloquent counsel.