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 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.