Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld today released the following message in observance of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance on May 28, 2001:
From the Pentagon, there is visible a small, gently rolling corner of Arlington Cemetery. One cannot look upon its headstones, row on row, without being powerfully reminded of the great spirit of service and sacrifice that has defined this country from its very beginnings. With Memorial Day's dawn, we are called as a nation to remember these souls and all our honored dead, the men and women whose ultimate sacrifice guaranteed the liberties that we have enjoyed throughout the history of our nation.
Their sacrifice spans generations, and yet they share a common bond--they all died for a cause much greater than themselves. There is a long-told story that in the early days of the Second World War, General George Marshall was asked if America had a secret weapon to win the war. He replied that we did have such a weapon--he called it "the best darn kids in the world." Today, the "best darn kids" still wear this nation's uniform; they are the men and women who nobly put their lives at risk defending the freedoms we hold dear. And their devotion to duty honors the memory of their fallen brethren each and every day.
On this Memorial Day, in gratitude for our country's blessings, let each of us pause in a national moment of remembrance for America's sons and daughters who gave the last full measure of devotion--to recall their hopes, their dreams, their valor. Let us be inspired by their selfless idealism and pledge ourselves anew to do our part to ensure the children of today and tomorrow will not have to share in their suffering and sacrifice.
A copy of Secretary Rumsfeld's signed message is on the web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2001/d20010523memorial.pdf
The things they Carried....
They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks. The carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots. They carried the M-16 assault rifle. They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence. They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes.
Some carried napalm, CBU's and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage.
Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive. They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworms and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love: "Don't mean nothin'!"
They carried memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God" and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die.
They carried the traditions of the United States military, and memories and images of those who served before them. They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor. They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it. They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world.
THEY CARRIED EACH OTHER
Remember them this Memorial Day May 28th
Life is changed, not taken away.
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
A Memorial Day Prayer
Creator of years, of centuries,
Lord of whatever is beyond time,
Maker of all species and master of all history --
How shall we speak to you
from our smallness and inconsequence?
Except that you have called us to worship you
in spirit and in truth;
You have dignified us with loves and loyalties;
You have lifted us up with your loving kindnesses.
Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling
[though we sometimes feel that low]
and without fear
[though we are often anxious].
We sing with spirit and pray with courage
because you have dignified us;
You have redeemed us from the aimlessness
of things' going meaninglessly well.
God, lift the hearts of those
for whom this holiday is not just diversion,
but painful memory and continued deprivation.
Bless those whose dear ones have died
needlessly, wastefully [as it seems]
in accident or misadventure.
We remember with compassion those who have died
serving their countries
in the futility of combat.
There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation,
when all the answers we are offered
fail the question death asks of each of us.
We believe that you will provide for us
as others have been provided with the fulfillment of
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
information on VA benefits and programs,
National Alliance of Families
(click here to view "TAPS" page)
Life is changed, not taken away.
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
Page Modified: 10-27-09
Designed, Created and Maintained by:
Mom ~ May 27, 2001
İMarilyn Jeffries, Reflection of the Echo, 1974~200-
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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