Southern Views

General Patton said, “Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather, let me be glad that such heroes have lived.”

Photo by jdcdc

The names of soldiers who died in service to our country are etched on marble stones. Their names are chiseled at the base of monuments, and 58,267 names glisten on the face of a black granite wall.  Memorial Day is set aside for us to honor those who have given their lives for our country.  We should do something on this day besides pausing for a moment of silence to remember. Last year on Memorial Day, I saw the documentary Hallowed Grounds about our military cemeteries overseas. These are beautiful places and often watched over by the citizens of nearby towns, citizens who care for our nations dead.  So many gave their lives and never came home, even for eternal sleep.

As we observe Memorial Day it is time to stop thinking of it as a day off from work, or the opportunity to catch up on chores, or as a day to fire up the grill. It is time… we observe Memorial Day as a fitting tribute to those who serve our country. I say we must go beyond Memorial Day and pay tribute to these men and women every day.

Soldiers fight wars. War is not glorious.

This year, as our nation reflects on the Civil war, we are reminded of the horror of war here in Georgia. Andersonville, a civil war prison, Union Prisoners of war were kept suffering from scurvy and dysentery, and covered with filth and vermin. A third of them died, they were buried in mass graves, with no name on a stone. Not one of our finer moments.  Now as a National Historic Site and Memorial to all Prisoners of War, Andersonville’s stain is tempered with a tribute to the courage our soldiers called forth from their hearts and souls –under unspeakable conditions—and teaches us valor and dignity.

Freedom is not free. We owe it to those who came before us. We owe it to those who will come after us. We owe it to ourselves—to be vigilant in protecting our freedom….to guard it with our lives.

It is our duty, as we enjoy our freedom, to honor and remember the profound sacrifice our nation’s soldiers have made for our nation and for us.

I ask each of you to do one simple thing. Whenever, wherever you encounter a soldier please thank him or her for their service. Let us see if together, we can inspire a nation to join us. Thank a soldier.  Honor him. Before he is a name carved on a stone….and cannot hear you.

Darby Britto

Darby Britto

I was raised in the south by a pair of Yankees, and everyone around me wore combat boots. I think this explains a lot. A childhood spent working in little theatre and a professional career in television, tends to give me a point of view not often shared by others.

  1. Thank yous are cheap. Deft diplomacy aforehand and proper medical care when that fails would be better.
    That the Veterans Administration is negotiating cheaper prices for pills so they can dole them out like candy to veterans killing themselves at a rate of 19 per week is downright shameful. What we have here is a failure of obligation that no amount of flag waving and memorial exhortations can erase.

  2. Thanks Monica, you make a good point. We do need to pay close attention to Veterans Affairs and hold those in power accountable. I met some dazed, grieving parents of a young soldier who took his life after coming home from his tour of duty. A close friend volunteers at Walter Reed working with soldiers who have brain injuries. Looking a soldier in the eye and saying thank you may not be enough, but for many it is a place to start.

  3. Tom Ferguson

    Soldiers swear upon induction (as do public officials) to protect the U.S. against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC… to go off to fight “enemies” as determined by Dick Cheney, Obama etc; is to be deluded since the real enemy of liberty lies more in the direction of Cheney than of Iraq. Those who fall in the unjust, illegal fantasies of war hawks should be honored not as protectors of our liberty but as victims of sociopaths and/or war profiteers… and not just U.S. soldiers… most every soldier of every war is victimized by the failure of leaders to recognize that so long as we use violence to resolve conflict we drift toward extinction. To end war would be the greatest honoring of its long rows of victims.

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