THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 5/31/2016
To the fallen’s silent sacrifice
Memorial Day is dedicated to those who’ve given the last full measure, their last breath, in causes that they may or may not have deeply understood. But give their all they did, if only on the orders from leaders they trusted, for the men fighting next to them or the women and children left back home.
Great movies have often given us cause for reflection and the best sometimes leave a gem for the ages. “We Were Soldiers,” from 2002, dramatized the Battle of la Drang on November 14, 1965. It was based on the book “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young” (1992) by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph L Galloway, who witnessed the first major battle of the Viet Nam war. (Wikipedia)
A hymn, “Mansions of the Lord,” played over the film’s credits and served as the recessional in the 2004 funeral of President Ronald Reagan. If you’ve ever heard its somber melody, you can put these lyrics to song if only in your head.
“Mansions of the Lord”
To fallen soldiers let us sing
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing
Our broken brothers let us bring
to the mansions of the Lord
No more bleeding no more fight
No prayers pleading through the night
Just divine embrace, eternal light
in the mansions of the Lord
Where no mothers cry and no children weep
We will stand and guard tho the angels sleep
All through the ages safely keep
the mansions of the Lord
Ronald Reagan once delivered a moving tribute to the fallen warriors of America’s wars: “We are a nation under God and I believe God intended for us to be free. We must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. The price for this freedom at times has been high but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look. The sloping hills of Arlington Cemetery with its row upon row of simple markers bearing Crosses or Stars of David; their lives ended in places called Belle Wood, the Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno, and half way around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Viet Nam. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom.”
Another thematic song used in “We Were Soldiers” was a tribute by Joseph MacKenzie in memory of his great-grandfather, Charles Stuart MacKenzie. “Charles was a sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders, who along with hundreds of his brothers-in-arms from the Elgin-Rothes area in Moray, Scotland, went to fight in the Great War. Sergeant Charles Stuart MacKenzie was killed on the battlefield, at the young age of 35, while defending one of his badly injured fellow soldiers in the hand-to-hand fighting of the trenches.” (angelfire.com)
Lay me down in the cold cold ground; Where before many more have gone//Lay me down in the cold cold ground; Where before many more have gone// When they come I will stand my ground; Stand my ground I’ll not be afraid//Thoughts of home take away my fear; Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears// Once a year say a prayer for me; Close your eyes and remember me// Never more shall I see the sun; For I fell to a German’s gun// Lay me down in the cold cold ground; Where before many more have gone.
Finally, I’d like to share a poem written by “Tarzana Joe,” the poet laureate for the Hugh Hewitt show, for a mom whose son has been deployed numerous times around the world. She prayed and thanked God every day for “putting service in the hearts of so many young people.”
A Memorial Day Prayer by Tarzana Joe: Let’s hear it for the soldiers, our sons and daughters who are founders and protectors of everything we do. They knew about the dangers but by service they were steered. Despite the threats to life and limb, they bravely volunteered. They come from every background, from humble house or suite, but due to that decision I say they’re all elite. They fight against oppression, relieve the set upon. They knew the “G” in GI Joe didn’t stand for “Gen-gis Khan.” They rescue the beleaguered; they liberate the town, and no one better never ever tell them to “stand down.” Let’s let them know they’re honored, that their nation cares. Let’s hold them in our memories and keep them in our prayers. Next time you see a soldier, there’s no need to be nervous; walk right up, stick out your hand and thank them for their service. And where a battle rages and then the bugle calls, may angels rush to raise them when any soldier falls. They stand defending freedom and everything it means. God bless the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines.