As we pause to remember . . . .
Churchill’s observation of his countrymen’s debt to those who died in the Battle of Britain is equally applicable to all of those from every country and in every war who have died defending the lives and freedom of others—families, friends, future generations, fellow countrymen, strangers and foreigners they never met, will never meet.
From the gathering on the green at Lexington to those in every armored vehicle, aircraft, vessel or on foot patrol today in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Americans are part of that few to whom so many owe so very much—their lives, their liberty and the luxury of living in a land where people can live, worship, work, pursue their dreams, choose their leaders and speak their minds freely and without fear. The debt is unfathomable; the “many” immeasurable; but the “few” are finite and identifiable. They should be remembered, individually and collectively. Their names are found on crosses and stars of David in military cemeteries, on gravestones and markers in family plots, on bronze plaques in churches and public buildings, on monuments in parks, in worn packets of yellowed letters, inscribed on old Bibles, on crumbling pages of newsprint, in histories and anecdotes; their faces are seen in dusty frames on pianos, on courthouse walls, in boxes and envelopes of fading snapshots, on statues and monuments; and both are found indelible imprinted in the hearts of mothers, fathers, grandparents, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, husbands, wives, sweethearts, teachers, students, friends, former playmates and generations who came later and live because they died.
It is a monumental debt that we owe, not to be forgotten. Remember them today. Speak their names. See their faces. Hear their voices. Read their letters. Hug those they knew. Remember what they did. Let them live on in our hearts.
By Sam Griffin
The (Bainbridge) Post-Searchlight
May 27, 2005