Friday, May 27, 2005

Remember our troops

This Memorial Day, please fly your American flag, and on Monday morning, make your way to your local Memorial Day observance to remember our troops.

Earlier this week, I attended the memorial ceremony at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, conducted by the Japanese American Veterans of Minnesota. Many of those in attendance, many World War II veterans and their spouses, watched me grow up in the 1960s and '70s. Others didn't know me but knew my parents. An Army chaplain addressed the group. A roll call of deceased was read, which included my World War II veteran dad, who died in April last year. The organization provided bouquets to decorate the graves of our loved ones, and volunteers brought a bouquet to the graves of those whose relatives were not present that day. Afterwords, the group adjourned for its traditional luncheon held at a Chinese buffet.

On Monday we will attend a memorial observance conducted by the Wayzata American Legion post. In the past we have greeted U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-3rd District) at cemetery ceremonies in Wayzata.

We owe our liberty to our brave and dedicated troops in all branches of the Armed Forces. As Sen. Zell Miller (D-Georgia) put it so eloquently last year:
Nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier.

And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag.

Flying the flag and showing up on Memorial Day for a sincere tribute to those who made the supreme sacrifice for our country, or who passed on as veterans, is the least we can do to say thanks.

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