reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: May 2009

Memorial Day 2009

A collection of musical selections and quotes in honor of Memorial Day. I also highly recommend reading or re-reading Bill Whittle’s “Honor”, the first of his superb “Silent America” essays, as I just did. (Also recommended: a moving address by Donald Sensing that I linked last year.)

I am moved and humbled beyond words by the actions of men and women throughout our storied history, who have risked and sacrificed their very lives to secure our safety and liberty. What more profound love there could be for a nation, an idea, and one’s fellow man, I can’t imagine. May they have our undying gratitude and commitment to ensuring that their sacrifices will not have been in vain.


from Oscar Peterson, Night Train: “Hymn to Freedom”

from Dave Brubeck, Private Brubeck Remembers: “Don’t Worry ‘bout Me”, “We Crossed the Rhine”, “For All We Know”

from Five for Fighting, Two Lights: “Two Lights”


“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — General George S. Patton, Jr.

“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” — Sir Winston Churchill / George Orwell †

“We fight wars not to have peace, but to have a peace worth having. Slavery is peace. Tyranny is peace. For that matter, genocide is peace when you get right down to it. The historical consequences of a philosophy predicated on the notion of no war at any cost are families flying to the Super Bowl accompanied by three or four trusted slaves and a Europe devoid of a single living Jew.” — Bill Whittle, “History”

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” — George Washington

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” — John Stuart Mill

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
John F. Kennedy

“We can’t share the earth with pure evil anymore than we can share the earth with smallpox.” — David Gelernter

“Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can’t be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force.” — Vaclav Havel

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

“The front line now, at this critical time, is in the hearts and minds of our own people. That’s where the real battle is now. That is our weakest point, our breach, our point of failure. We have not made the case to enough people and time is running out.

So maybe now, at this absurd point in this new kind of war, we’re the crack troops, we old and useless pajama patriots reduced to printing up pamphlets to sell war bonds to the weary, to make the case for holding on to an unglamorous, uninspiring, relentless grind because that — not Normandy and Midway — is the face of war in this gilded age of luxury and safety and plenty.” — Bill Whittle, “Deterrence”

“We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down.” — Sir Winston Churchill

† The “rough men stand ready” quote is frequently attributed to both Winston Churchill and George Orwell in various forms. It is a beautifully focused statement, whatever its true origin.

Stuck Mojo, “I’m American”

Mentioned at the end of my previous post and well worth attention of its own: a beautifully worded and spirited anthem in praise of the good ol’ U.S. of A. — “I’m American”.

If we ever did retire the beloved Star-Spangled Banner in favor of a new national anthem, “I’m American” would be seriously in the running for my vote.

Lyrics, and an Independence Day dedication by Stuck Mojo lead singer Lord Nelson, below:

I’m an American related to all colors of brethren
Priests and Pastors and Prophets and Reverends
Divided we fall, united we stand — together, man
In this cultural melting pot there’s nothing better than
this land of the free and the home of the brave
populated by ancestors, immigrants and slaves
who met early graves, so we could see brighter days
and we could proudly praise and raise
the stars and stripes as Americans

Hate me, blame me
You can’t shame me
Come and stand with me
I’m American

I’m an American born in these states united
where racial discrimination keeps us so divided
Well we’ve got free speech, so I won’t be quiet
We’ve got a lot of problems here, man, I won’t deny it
But ain’t another place that I’d rather be
than in this land of great opportunity
where we can be anything that we want to be
so until the day I D-I-E
I stand tall as an American

Hate me, blame me
You can’t shame me
Come and stand with me
I’m American

Lord Nelson’s dedication:

On July 4, 1776 America adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from Great Britain. We have celebrated this historical event every year since that day. Today we live in an America that is a diverse melting pot of cultures, a place where so many races and faces of different color call home. Every July 4th, we celebrate freedom. We celebrate our strong and prideful disposition and unwavering love for country. Oh, what a feeling when we’re at an event and we see the red, white and blue flying. Americans engulfed in patriotism and love for fellow man.

From the fireworks to the barbecues, baseball games to swimming pools. We congregate and enjoy each others company like one big family. On this day we share a common thought of prosperity and family values. What it really means to be American. All having that desire to achieve the American dream.

The very reason that millions around the globe long to be a part of this great society. From the smallest towns to the largest cities, we all stand tall and proudly say “I’m American!” On this July 4, 2007, The Stuck Mojo Family would like to salute those troops who continue to fight for our freedom and way of life, and we would also like to praise and remember those who have fought and died for our beautiful country and for the principles that it stands for.

United we stand. Divided we fall. God bless America.


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