Memorial Day 2006


The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

“Bivouac of the Dead”, Theodore O’Hara.

  • [From last year]: Their service came not as a burden but as a duty. The Daily Demarche on the origins of Memorial Day:

    In 1918 Moina Michael penned “We Shall Keep the Faith” in response to John McCrae’s “In Flanders Field” (both poems can be found at the end of this post) launching the idea of wearing a poppy on the 30th of May in remembrance of our fallen warriors. While Memorial Day has existed as a federal holiday since only 1966, the practice of honoring America’s war dead dates to at least the Civil War . . .

  • “Ma’am, We Regret To Inform You …” – Mark Gordon reminds us “This Memorial Day weekend, don’t forget to pause and think about the loved and lost who died defending our country. And please don’t fail to include in your prayers those they left behind,” — and provides several examples of how we can commemorate those who gave their lives i service to our country.
  • Rafael Peralta – Home of the Brave, Mudville Gazette posts an excerpt from Home of the Brave : Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, by Caspar Weinberger and Wynton C. Hall. The story of Sgt Rafael Peralta is one of many such tales contained therein.
  • Remembering Frankie National Review May 26, 2006. James S. Robbins “says goodbye to a man I never knew.”
  • Remembering Michael StokeleyMudville Gazette receives an email from the father of SGT Michael “Mike” James Stokely. KIA 8/16/05 Yusufiyah Iraq E Troop 108th CAV 48th Brigade GA NATL GUARD US ARMY.
  • Victor Davis Hanson looks back at Iraq National Review May 26, 2006.
  • “I am going to die well” Mudville Gazette salutes those who died in Vietnam, particularly members of the 1st Cavalry Division departed Ft Benning, Georgia, who fought the first major battle between the American Army and the People’s Army of Vietnam.
  • Stirring Memorial Day – Video Tributes to several heroes from BlackFive. Here is another Memorial Day Video Tribute — take a moment to watch and reflect.
  • The Visit May 22, 2006. Combat artist Michael Fey (Fire and Ice) tells the tale of a fallen soldier, and a visit from his grieving father.
  • Cindy Hicks, whose only child, SSgt. Jason Ramsmeyer, was killed in an IED explosion last month in Haditha, sent this letter to President Bush as a reminder that every time two Marines knock on a front door, the fabric of the family who lives there will be irrevocably changed. (Via Marine Corps Moms).
  • “Victors, Not Victims” (Wall Street Journal May 26, 2006) asks us to think about the way we regard those veterans who do return from a war. The blogger “Neo-Neocon” expresses similar thoughts in her Memorial Day reflection, Freedom Isn’t Free:

    I am virtually certain that all of my friends feel sorrow at the death of young men and women in the military–they are not cold-hearted, far from it. But I think they see them as victims, not as people who freely chose to do this, knowing that the possible cost might be their very lives. And yes, I know that not all in the military, especially those in the Guard, thought all of this through when they signed up. But I believe that the majority of those in the military were well aware of the risks when they enlisted. . . .

  • Legacy.com: In Remembrance – to remember and honor American service members lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently, 2,744 service members are honored on this site.

  • Finally, Stars and Stripes lists some ways to support servicemembers, with links to many charities and services for our veterans. (See also Blackfive’s compilation of groups who work dilligently to support our military personnel in many different and positive ways).

Today’s roundup goes out to all of our brave men and women serving our nation in all branches of our Armed Forces. And especially to my young brother Nathan (US Navy) and to my grandfather, Maas Vanderbilt (U.S. Army).

The great French preacher Lacordaire once said the vocation of a soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, but also because it called him to the spirit and intention of sacrifice.

From Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Wartime Prayerbook
(Sophia Institute Press, 2003)

* * *

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, let thy protection be upon all those who are in the service of our country; guard them from all harm and danger of body and soul; sustain and comfort those as home, especially in their hours of loneliness, anxiety, and sorrow; prepare the dying for death and the living for your service; give success to our arms on land and sea and in the air; and grant unto us and all nations a speedy, just and lasting peace. Amen.

— Prayer in Time of War

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