Memorial Day - Are We Honoring Their Sacrifice? | Beaufort County Now | This Memorial Day week-end, we remember the greater than 1,448,900 servicemen who fought and died in our wars and battles over the many years.

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    This Memorial Day week-end, we remember the greater than 1,448,900 servicemen who fought and died in our wars and battles over the many years. Beginning with the American Revolution (a war originally begun over the colonists' right to have and bear arms for protection of their person, property, and rights), to the Civil War (where over 620,000 young men were slaughtered over one man's zeal for the federal government and his determination for the role of the States), to WWI (when the United States became a world power) and WWII (when we liberated Europe from tyranny and the evil ambitions of a single man who believed in an empire of ethnically pure and engineered people living in service and in fear of their leader), to the Korean and Vietnam Wars (although they were politically unpopular, they were intended to contain the spread of communism, where the government has total control of the individual), to the current War on Terrorism (a war for the right to life itself, as well as for the luxury of living safely and securely as Americans on our own soil and when traveling abroad), these men put service before self for a country they love, for ideals that were more important than any single life, and for a better and more secure future for their family, friends, and even total strangers. My hope is that I will always conduct myself, in words and deeds, worthy of their sacrifice.

    Please remember that Memorial Day is not about bombs and battleships and aircraft and war memorabilia. It's not about the American flag (which, as we all know, at times stood for oppression) or about burgers or beers. Memorial Day is a holiday set aside to honor individuals... American brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, classmates, neighbors, relatives, and ancestors who died in military service. We honor every American who gave their life for this country in order to protect the freedoms we often take for granted and are blessed to wake up with every morning, as well as to secure the image of the United States as the most powerful bastion of freedom in the world. Whether we realize it or not, every American reflects their sacrifice. Memorial Day is not about barbecues, parades, a holiday week-end, or family reunions. It's about courage under fire and about the ideals and values that a young man in uniform was willing to sacrifice his life for.

    As I look at pictures of the caskets of our fallen soldiers and the many grave sites marked with white crosses, and I realize that each one of those dead had a mother and a father, family, and friends, I am reminded that each life is a costly sacrifice that has been laid at the altar of freedom.

    It's true, whether we realize it or not, as Americans we reflect their sacrifice. Every Memorial Day should remind us to wear that badge proudly, responsibly, and honorably. And always in our mind should be the goal to live our lives, to raise our families, to educate our children, and to be responsible in our civic duty as if we are deserving of their sacrifice.

    "The legacy of heroes is the inheritance of a great example."

Diane Rufino: Above.

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( May 31st, 2016 @ 9:11 am )
Thanks for the insight, Diane. It is interesting that you should point out that we have not always been on the right side of our own stated founding principles. We created governments to provide protection of the populace's individual rights. Other countries created government different reasons not based on the our founding principles. The wishes and whims of the rulers formed the basis of authority. As far as I can tell, we have the only government formed on stated principles that we did not adhere to at its formation. Since our government is a reflection of our electoral process, the compromises made by the founding fathers were at best necessary to achieve the cohesion necessary for the formation of a governing body. But they knew we were not perfect as individuals or as a republican form of government.

As you have pointed out, the fallacies of our history are the same fallacies of human nature. Our treatment of the native Indians did not rise to our lofty goals. Our mutual acceptance of slavery as an institution is another example. Both sides of the Mason Dixon line participated in the practice or benign acceptance of slavery for their own benefit.

Your argument about our beloved President Lincoln is on point. His stated goal was to preserve the union and not the abolition of slavery. However, if the Emancipation Proclamation furthered his goals, so be it. Our system, of course was designed to be somewhat self-correcting and if that were not possible, a course of action was laid out in our basic principles. I repeat again your reference to the D-of-I:

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness."

One way to get a southerner upset is to appear denigrate his ancestors who fought on the southern side of the Civil War. A reasoned discussion is most difficult when the natural defense mechanism assert itself. Stating reality and historical fact is most difficult and as you point out the winner interprets the facts. Like most humans, when the emotion enters the equation, common sense and intellectually honesty leave. Fortunately, as time subsides and a non-emotional review evolves the truth will become apparent to future generations.

Our recent history has shown the tendency to bypass the constitutional requirements necessary before committing military force in anything other than self-defense. While I might disagree with Todd Bennett about our "DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY" for ISIS, it is apparent to me that we created an environment where they could flourish.

Your summary however, is on track when you add:

"But I just wanted to point out, even if briefly, for intellectual honesty, that there were times when it represented a nation that could have done better."

Thanks again for the reminder.
( May 30th, 2016 @ 10:26 pm )
My friend Todd Bennett commented: "It hasn't represented good in the numerous invasions of nations that did nothing to us in Libya, Iraq, and Syria either. We've been directly responsible for ISIS being empowered and used to do our dirty work, and we have directly been participating in creating the so called refugee crisis across the Middle East. Those are inconvenient truths I know but nonetheless factual. Ask the Indian nations how righteous our behavior was as well.

We've done lots of good and helped save the world but most recently we've not been on the right side of history. That is on our policy makers.
( May 30th, 2016 @ 10:23 pm )
Someone who regularly reads my articles (on my blogsite - commented on my Memorial Day piece. She asked: "What do you mean by the phrase 'the American flag has stood for oppression?' Can you please enlighten me on that.” And so I attempted to explain. I responded:

Here is what I meant by the phrase "as stood for oppression" (referring to our flag at specific times in our history), and I would respect if you don't agree with me on this: Prior to the 13th Amendment, the American flag stood for the protection of the institution of slavery. I know there are a good many who believe it is/was only the Confederate flag that symbolizes slavery, but people forget that our Constitution [Article I, Section 9 (Powers Prohibited to Congress) and the Fugitive Slave Clause (Article IV, Sec. 2, clause 3) prevented the abolition of slavery or the freedom of those slaves who were not "relieved of service" (discharged from being "property"). Article I, Section 9 prevented the Congress from even thinking about abolishing slavery until at least 1808 and the Fugitive Slave Clause essentially said that "once property, always property," with respect to the slave. Toward the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, during the debate over the Privileges and Immunities Clause (Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1), Charles Pinckney of South Carolina insisted that there should be some provision included to help secure the property in slaves. I would have never really made mention of this association, chocking it up to a history that has been righted, but in light of this era when people are vilifying the Confederate flag and any name, statue, or symbol associated with the Confederacy of the United States or the pre-Civil War South, I just think people should look at the bigger picture and realize that it wasn't just the South that embraced slavery. The American flag, for several years, stood as a symbol of a slave nation.

The second instance where I believe the American flag stood for oppression was in during the years 1861-1865 when Abraham Lincoln hijacked the full force of the federal government, including the suppression of the media, the suspension of habeas corpus, and especially the conscription of Union soldiers to pursue the invasion of the South in direct violation of the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence. The oppression I refer to hear is the rejection of that part of the Declaration which reads: "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness..." Nowhere in the founding of our nation was it understood that government supersedes the inherent right of a people to choose the government of their choosing, and especially when the Southern states copied, step by step, the very sequence of events that the colonies themselves took when they separated from Great Britain. They were, in fact and in legal terms, an independent nation established with all the foundations that define such. Lincoln may have “sold” his agenda to Congress as necessary to “quell the Southern rebellion” but he was merely using smoke and mirrors. He was using terms and definitions that were in direct contradiction to those used by our Framers and Founders to push an unconstitutional war to force the Southern states back into the Union to make ensure the perpetuation of the federal government (terms taken directly from a Senate resolution to retroactively sanction the various constitutional violations by Lincoln). The actions of Abraham Lincoln and the government that was transformed because of them resulted in a paradigm shift in our nation and our understanding of government and the relationship between State and federal government. The oppression I refer to at this point of our history was the oppression forced on Americans by a government that was more interested in its own perpetuation than in respecting the principles upon which it was guided by way of the Declaration of Independence. Over 640,000 young men were killed in a war for a corrupted view of the Constitution and the Union.

I know I don’t take the accepted view of the War for Southern Independence, but then again, I think we haven’t been told the truth about that era of our history for a very very VERY long time. But that is to be expected… The victors always have the benefit and luxury of telling the story, and that means telling it in a way that exonerates them from any culpability and vilifying the vanquished. In the case of the Civil War, the story had to be a real good one because it tore a nation apart and killed more Americans than any other period of our history. Lincoln did more than any other president to create the powerful federal government that we now have to pledge allegiance to which explains why he has the most elaborate monument on the national mall in DC. Thanks to Lincoln, States have become timid and inherent fundamental rights have been lost forever.

Again, this is just my opinion and my point of view. I love my country dearly and believe myself to be blessed beyond measure that of all the places I could have been born in this crazy, turbulent world, I was born here in the United States with a Constitution so brilliant and so grand, with a set of protections in our Bill of Rights to keep government forever at bay, and with a national founding document, the Declaration of Independence, so revolutionary and so inspirational and magnificent that the United Nations itself adopted its language and the language of each the others in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I love, honor, and cherish the American flag, and there are times seeing it and realizing the inspiration it gave our serviceman over the years to the point they were willing to give their lives that I break down in tears.

The American flag so overwhelmingly represents good. It so overwhelmingly represents freedom and liberty and liberation from oppression. But I just wanted to point out, even if briefly, for intellectual honesty, that there were times when it represented a nation that could have done better.

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