As we celebrate Memorial Day I wonder if we are slowly losing the reason for the holiday. Has it become like Christmas where it is nothing but another holiday? Has it become just another day of eating, drinking and a day off from our jobs? Do we any longer identify with the term “freedom isn’t free”? Have we forgotten those that gave their lives for what we call freedom? For many, (more than we realize), Memorial Day is a reminder of losing a son, a daughter, a wife, a husband, a father or a mother to the enemy in a foreign land and this day only opens up wounds afresh and brings back the nightmares from the pain of those losses.
I hope if you know someone that has experienced the loss of a loved one due to the “price of freedom” you will find the time to say ”Thank You”. I will be wearing “the shirt” this Memorial Day. It simply states, “Those who would disrespect our flag…have never been handed a folded one”. I have seen the pain at more than one funeral of a fallen hero. I have seen a young bride lay at her hero’s side for the night and cry over the future she would never share. I have watched more than one mother or wife fall at the stone of their soldier’s grave as I was reminded of how real that pain is, how real the loss is. I challenge everyone this year to stop and think of what many go through when a loved one makes the final march into eternity. It never stops after the funeral. The pain comes back day after day.
Many of our founders paid with their lives to purchase our freedom. Here is one such story.
Michael Novack writes. “I first heard this story alluded to in Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address. Dr. Joseph Warren, the family doctor of Abigail and John Adams in Boston, was among the first to join the Sons of Liberty and to stand with the men at Lexington. In fact, he was an officer, and he took a bullet through his hair right above his ear, where it left a crease, but he stood his ground. Two months later, Dr. Warren was commissioned as a major general of the Continental Army. It was a great title, but there wasn’t much of an army for the defense of Boston, toward which the British fleet was bringing reinforcements. Dr. Warren learned just four days after he was commissioned that that night the Americans had sent 1,500 men up Bunker Hill. It was one of those still nights when hardly a sound traveled out over the water, where the British fleet was anchored. In the stillness, the troops dug, muffling their shovels, and constructed wooden fortifications, being careful not to strike anything with an axe.
In the morning, the British on board ship awakened to find that Bunker Hill was fortified, and began a five-hour bombardment. Warren heard the bombardment as he was on horseback riding toward Boston, and arrived at Bunker Hill by a back route and managed to climb up into the ranks. He didn’t try to take command; he just went into the ranks, in the front rows.
After the bombardment, some of the British soldiers came on land and put Charlestown to the torch, and tongues of flame from 500 homes, businesses, and churches leapt into the sky. Everything in Charlestown burned. Breathless, Abigail Adams watched from a hilltop to the south. She heard the cannons from the warships bombarding Bunker Hill for five long hours as Joseph Warren rode to his position. The American irregulars proved their discipline that day and the accuracy of huntsmen firing in concentrated bursts. They had only four or five rounds apiece. Twice they broke the forward march of thirty-five hundred British troops with fire so withering they blew away as many as 70 to 90 percent of the foremost companies of Redcoats, who lost that day more than a thousand dead.
Then the ammunition of the Americans ran out. While the bulk of the Continental Army retreated, the last units stayed in their trenches to hold off the British hand-to-hand. That is where Major General Joseph Warren was last seen fighting until a close-range bullet felled him. The British officers had him decapitated and bore his head aloft to General Gage.
Freedom is always the most precarious regime. Even a single generation can throw it all away. Every generation must reflect and must choose.
Joseph Warren had earlier told the men of Massachusetts at Lexington:
“Our country is in danger now, but not to be despaired of. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rest the happiness and the liberty of millions not yet born. Act worthy of yourselves.”
As we celebrate this day let us hold fast to the truth it represents and may it renew a determination in all of us to stop the advances of evil men and women who would pervert our freedoms that so many paid the ultimate price to purchase.
BamaCarry encourages you to enjoy the day and for all of our Vets we thank you for your service and sacrifice that you and your families make.