Monday, May 27, 2013

Constantly With Us All: A Memorial Day Remembrance

By: Paul Kengor / Townhall Columnist
Memorial Day is a wonderful constant. Every year, it never ceases to touch me. My family attends an annual parade in Mercer, Pennsylvania. It’s terrific—total old-school. The flags, the courthouse, the kids, the snow-cone stand, the marching bands, and, most of all, the troops from different wars—that is, the survivors who remain with us.

Speaking of whom, Memorial Day always brings another constant, a sad one: each new Memorial Day brings less World War II veterans. They are leaving us at a rapid clip. Anyone who entered World War II at age 18 in 1945—the final stretch when someone could have joined the war effort—would now be 86 years old. Anyone who entered the war at age 18 in 1941 is 90. There aren’t as many now as there were 10 years ago, and 10 years from now … well, do the math.

A colleague of mine was reminded of this universal reality just a few weeks ago. His name is Glenn Marsch. He teaches with me at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. As a professor of physics, Glenn understands something about constants and universal laws. This Memorial Day will be his first without the constant of his father. He lost his dad in March.

Glenn’s dad became a soldier in October 1944, shipping off to the Pacific. He was an army construction engineer, often a dangerous job. He had fellow troops—friends of his—who were killed.

He personally incurred a serious wartime injury. Because he didn’t talk about the injury (or the war), Glenn didn’t learn the full extent of it until the funeral. “My oldest brother revealed that Dad had been burned over much of his body,” says Glenn. “He recovered and went back to active duty, but I never saw him on a beach without a shirt and long shorts. Upon smelling something disgusting, he would say, ‘smells like human flesh burning.’”

Think about that: Glenn never caught his dad without a shirt and pants or long shorts—not even at the beach in the summer. His father stoically concealed his wounds. Never talked about them.

Glenn’s dad instead quietly came home from combat and served his country in another way—as a good, God-fearing American who held a job, loved his wife, raised his kids, and made a better culture and country. And there were millions like him.

Another was John Shrode. Born in Rockport, Indiana, August 11, 1925, just four days after the birth of the girl (Martha) he would marry and take care of for 67 years, John landed on Omaha Beach at 7:35 a.m. on June 6, 1944—D-Day. He was literally among the first Allied troops to storm the beaches of Normandy. The French government awarded him the Croix de Guerre for rescuing France from the Nazis.

“He will forever be my hero,” says his daughter-in-law, Kendra Shrode. Kendra’s husband, who was John’s first-born child, died in 1989 without ever really knowing about John’s service. “He had not yet reached the point of talking about it,” remembers Kendra. “With my children he did, and I am so grateful they had that opportunity.”

John’s life wasn’t easy. He grew up in a broken home, had only an eighth-grade education, and lost a child. Later in life, he developed three types of cancer, atop other illnesses. He struggled to take care of his wife as she came down with Alzheimer’s. Nonetheless, says Kendra, “He was the most well-read ‘uneducated’ man I have ever known. And his life code was integrity…. The strength of this man lives on in his children and grandchildren.”

A dairy and grain farmer, John went on to work for Caterpillar Tractor Company for 31 years. He loved his wife, raised his kids, and made a better culture and country.

For Kendra and the many Shrode children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, this will be a Memorial Day without “Papa John.” John Denzil Shrode, 8th Platoon, Company C, 6th Naval Beach Battalion, died November 5, 2011.

John’s final resting place is quintessentially American. It sits aside a tombstone awaiting his beloved wife and across from the baseball field in small-town America where he played and coached his children for years.

“As I stood looking at the flag tributes and glanced over at the fields,” says Kendra of a recent visit to John’s grave, “I realized he will be forever with us all.”

For all of those veterans who didn’t make it to Memorial Day this year, I say thank you. You remain constants—forever with us all.

Dear Friend,

The part of Pennsylvania where I make my home is a living memorial to the sacrifices the American people have made to keep this country - and the world - free.

From the Revolution to the Civil War, from World War II to the conflicts in which we are currently engaged this nation - centered on one simple idea, the right to live in freedom - has always been at the ready to volunteer to help secure those rights for others. We seek to share with others the blessing we ourselves have so providentially been given. It is what makes America unique among all the nations. It is what makes our way of life and our traditions so worthwhile defending.

It is not an easy task. There are some among us who have felt the personal pain of paying the ultimate price of freedom, going back as far as the war for American independence. As Lee Habeeb recently wrote for National Review Online in a piece I hope you read, the song "I Drive Your Truck" started as one man's memorial to his fallen hero son, but it has become much more. It speaks to all who grieve loved ones in the fight for freedom. I hope you will find it as moving and as meaningful as I did. Please click the link above to read Lee's article - but you might want to grab a box of tissues first and keep it handy.

There are some who say our nation's best days are behind us, that we are heading irreversibly toward a nation unrecognizable from what was given to us by the Founders in Philadelphia, just twenty five miles to the east from where I am now, "to preserve and protect and defend." But how can that be? Is freedom only an ideal for a season? Can that season run its course, to be replaced by some other ideal?

On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to consider the price that others have paid in order that we might take on the responsibility of being sentinels of liberty. And we will guard that responsibility close to our hearts until that day and time when the torch may pass from our hands into that of the next generation of young American men and women who embrace the values that we have tried to pass along to them.

For those of you, who are serving in the military, have served in the military, or who have loved ones in the service now, you have our thanks and hopes for a safer, brighter tomorrow. As a Navy veteran myself, I remember my first Memorial Day in uniform. The idea of risking one's life for our country was suddenly close at hand. Memorial Day was no longer some quaint Norman Rockwell painting with flags and parades that signified the beginning of summer. It was time to honor those who died to keep us free. And for those of you parents, spouses and siblings who remember a loved one with a "Gold Star," we hope that this day our fellow citizens will honor you and your lost. Only then does the phrase "Let Freedom Ring" take on its full significance.

Click HERE to read Lee Habeeb's article.

Colin Hanna, President
©2013 Let Freedom Ring, Inc. All rights reserved.

More Memorial Day Tributes to our fallen heroes

On this Memorial Day, please take time to remember the real reason we have enjoyed the blessing of being Americans, those who have fought to preserve our liberty and freedom. 

We thank those of you who have served our great nation with the understanding that your service has helped keep us the home of the brave and the land of the free.

The gentlemen sitting behind the Sentinels at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknowns include veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. Thanks to the a program called "Honor Flight", groups of aging veterans are afforded a chance to visit Washington DC at no cost to them in honor of their service. You can learn more by visiting

In addition to the "Tomb of the Unknowns", there are many graves of those who died in service to their country yet are "Unknown but to God". There are still over 80,000 soldiers officially listed as "Missing in Action". 
Please be safe and enjoy your day but remember to take a few moments to honor those who have kept us free. May God bless you and may God bless the United States of America.

Roger Stockton
Co-Founder, Western Representation PAC

Western Representation PAC
PO Box 50655

Sparks, NV 89435

Allen West “We must remember”

Posted in


We must remember.

The heroism…
The valor…
The courage..

We must remember the brave men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Military to defend the liberties each of us enjoys. Not just today, on Memorial Day, but every day.

As a veteran who saw too many of my comrades make the ultimate sacrifice, I could go on and on talking about the significance of today, what it means to serve this great nation, and why I’m so proud to be an American. But I know you probably have plans, so I’d like to leave you with a verse from the Bible that I believe sums up today perfectly.

We are the land of the free, because we have always been the home of the brave. Let us never forget.

God bless America,
Allen West

A Memorial Day Message

by / Personal Liberty Digest
A Memorial Day Message
Today is Memorial Day, a day we’ve set aside to salute the veterans who laid their lives on the line and gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, our country: the United States of America.

Memorial Day actually began in May 1865, when newly freed slaves in Charleston, S.C., exhumed the bodies of Union soldiers from a mass grave at the Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) and gave them individual graves.

The following year, and each year thereafter on May 5, a Decoration Day observance was held in Waterloo, N.Y. To commemorate the occasion, the graves of fallen soldiers were decorated with flags and flowers in cities and towns and battlefield graveyards across the Nation.

In 1882, the alternative name of Memorial Day was used, though it did not become commonly used until Federal law declared the day in 1967. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill set the date as the last Monday in May rather than the more traditional day of celebration, May 30.

Personal Liberty Digest™ is a site that promotes discussion from all sides of the spectrum on a variety of topics. Unfortunately, some of the discussions devolve from rational debate to name-calling exercises in futility.

Let’s set aside our partisan ideas and ideologies today and recognize those who have sacrificed for us.
Remember, too, their families, who gave their loved ones on the altar of freedom.

And don’t forget that we currently have members of our military fighting a shooting war in Afghanistan, patrolling the seas, standing at attention on the Korean Peninsula and guarding our Southern border. There are others at hundreds more bases around the world representing America’s interests.

Regardless of whether you support the wars in those places, the wars fought previously or the policies that require us to have troops stationed around the world, we must leave politics aside this day and remember those who chose to go where their Commander in Chief sent them, and who did all they could to see the mission through.

Many Americans receive the day off, and it’s not unusual for them to spend the day at picnics, barbecues, the lake or the beach. As you enjoy this holiday, don’t forget the reason behind it.

Remember those who fell on the battlefields at Lexington, Concord and Valley Forge; at Ft. Meigs, Ft. George and Baltimore; at El Paso, Cerra Gordo and Mexico City; at Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and the Wilderness; at San Juan Hill, Santiago de Cuba and Silva Heights; at Rheims, the Marne and Argonne; at Pearl Harbor, North Africa, Normandy, Guadalcanal, Ardennes and Midway; at Inchon, Chosin and Seoul; at Saigon, Hue, Hamburger Hill and An Loc; at Kuwait City, and Southern Iraq; at Mazar-e-sharif, southeastern Afghanistan, Qandahar, Marjah and Pashmul; at Nasiriya, Baghdad and Al-Anbar; and all the battlefields in between.

Thank you to those who gave it all. And to all veterans who have served or are currently serving, thank you and God bless!

Bob Livingston

A brief history of Memorial Day

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day... While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the 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... It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays)

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

On this Memorial Day
By: Diane Sori

Today is Memorial Day and while many will go to the beach or enjoy a hearty barbecue, let’s NOT forget the real reason for this most special and solemn of days…to remember and to honor those who put their lives on the line for our beloved country…those who made the ultimate sacrifice for a purpose they believed was greater than themselves…a purpose of keeping us safe and free at home.

Today while political battles continue in DC and across the nation, Memorial Day offers us the chance for all Americans…NO matter our race, creed, religion or color…to unite together and remember the one thing we all we have in common…gratitude...gratitude for those who served…gratitude for the brave men and women who proudly wore but sadly died wearing our nation’s uniform…gratitude so that we can go to that beach and can enjoy that barbecue.

Today there should be NO hyphenated Americans (nor should there ever be)…just Americans bowing their heads together in prayer as the flag of these United States is raised all over this great nation, and then solemnly lowered to half-staff. On this day let us remember the more than one million American patriots who gave their lives in service to this country. And when the flag is once again raised high at noon we must remember to NOT allow their sacrifice to be in vain for a nation that forgets its true heroes is a nation that loses its soul.

Today is a day when we should teach our children the importance of the sacrifices made by so many to ensure their freedoms and the freedoms of generations to come.

Today is a day when many Americans will visit cemeteries or memorials nationwide to place small flags at the base of the headstones of the fallen to let them know they are NOT forgotten.

Today is a day to honor the remains buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for while he, brave soldier whomever he may be, is home resting on American soil he is NOT with his loved ones, but serves as a reminder of the many who NEVER made it home, and should remind us that there are still some left behind who must be brought home.

Today is a day when the Pledge of Allegiance should take on a renewed meaning, and should reawaken in us all the realization that we live in the greatest nation the world has ever known, and remind us that some things are indeed worth fighting and dying for.

Today is a day to honor courage for while those lost in battle knew fear, they sacrificed with courage of heart and strength of conviction, something that must NEVER be forgotten for without knowing fear there can be NO courage and without courage there can be NO victory. Those who gave all deemed their love of country and duty to freedom were of greater value and more important then the fears they faced in dying.

Today is a day to also honor the very freedoms those lost in battle gave to each and everyone of us…the freedom we have in our beloved America to act, speak, and think as we so chose without hindrance or restraint…a freedom we intend NEVER to lose…a freedom we will fight for with just as much passion, dedication, determination, and courage as those who sacrificed before us…for we will NOT allow their sacrifice to be forgotten nor will we allow our freedoms to be taken away.

NO…we will NEVER allow their sacrifice to have been in vain.

Today is a day for prayers for those lost…a day for honoring their memories NOT just with tearful remembrances but also with a smile…a day to rediscover the meaning of what our military fights and dies for…our liberty, our safety, our individual rights guaranteed us under our Constitution, and the continuing American story of which we all play a part in.

Today I bow my head in solemn prayer and thank and remember those who made that ultimate sacrifice to keep our nation free…and pray to God that someday, …”nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4)

Someday…someday soon I pray, and may God Bless America today and always.