Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“We Honor Our Soldiers.”

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We pause this Memorial Day weekend to honor our soldiers. In the words of Abraham Lincoln on the battlefield of Gettysburg, “It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.” We honor our soldiers because of their commitment to God and country; their willingness to defend our liberties and protect those ideals we hold noble and dear in our cherished democracy. Too often we have scorned them and disregarded them and taken them for granted. Too often we have decried the atrocities of war and forgotten those who have paid the ultimate price in body, blood and tears; those who in their last hours of breath on earth have given with increased devotion their last full measure of devotion that this nation might live.

We honor them this weekend without apology and without those trite rationalizations that cry foul at the brutalities of war while enjoying its amenities and benefits. We honor them this weekend for the lonely hours on the long lonely watch; the gut wrenching pain of seeing comrades fall in battle while gasping air and spewing blood, and we honor them for their silent hopes that linger still when the fog of war has rescinded as the daylight of freedom still dawns at sunrise in America.

Yes, we honor them today and we honor them tomorrow and all the days that yet will come for the ways in which they have heard the trumpet and heeded its calling, the ways in which they have paid the price and laid life on the line, the ways in which they have carried our flag, and carried our hopes and carried our dreams and borne the burdens of war, the stripes of war and its untold horrors and terrors.

Yes, we honor them, each and every one of them; at wartime and at peace time; those who will no longer witness the light of day on this side of creation and those still here bereft of limbs but still with honor; removed of dash but still with hearts heroic pressing onward and upward with life and hope in the light of this day.

We honor them today for their wounds and scars and sweat and tears. We honor them for the silent drudgeries of disciplined duty; the shining shouts of a call to arms and the unheralded heroics of desk work duty. We honor them today for the poignant letters sent home to family who will never hear their voices again, and we honor their families who bade them goodbye and let them go and hoped beyond hope eternal that they would one day see their smiling faces again.

We honor our soldiers and our sailors and all those serving our country who ask nothing in return but tendered thanks from a grateful nation. We could never repay them for what they have done, but perhaps we can offer a kind word of thanks to any man or woman that we see in uniform. Thank them for serving and for being on the front lines of battle and on the back lines of preparation in serving and protecting our nation and defending our freedoms. Thank them with heartfelt and genuine thanks, and by so doing you will honor them, and that thanks will go a long way in letting them know that you truly appreciate the sacrifices that they have made for home sweet home America.

Thank them and honor them not only today, but this weekend and every day. Let everyday be a day in which we memorialize and honor them for the services and sacrifices they have rendered on behalf of a tearful, yet grateful and thankful nation.


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