Thank you is not enough, but It is all I have — Memorial Day 2011

Pax Americana – For the past seven decades America has been vilified around the world. People march in protest in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and now the Middle East. They complain, gripe, call us “ugly” and imperial. We either don’t do enough, or do too much.

American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have taken war to enemies of freedom in virtually every decade. We did it not for land, conquest or treasure. Our country is no larger now that it was in 1880. When we were victorious in Germany, Italy, the Philippines, Japan, Cuba, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, or any of the other bush wars we have fought, we asked only enough land to bury our dead.

After all the shouting is done, all the politicians have had they say, all the condemnation of us from within and without has died down, our people know why we do what we do. It was for Freedom.

It’s been nearly 50 years since we had a draft, yet we are the most powerful army on the planet. Our military’s men and women serve in harm’s way without complaint. From a piece by Representative Jeff Miller, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee:

Staff Sergeant Daniel J. Clay, from Pensacola, Fla., is one of the more than 5,500 who have given their lives since Sept. 11, 2001. He is part of our new generation of veterans, the Noble Generation — a generation that came of age upon witnessing horrifying destruction and terrorism within our own borders.

Clay was a Marine, and he was proud of it, forgoing college to join the Corps after high school. He was killed by an IED alongside nine of his battle buddies in Fallujah, Iraq, on December 1, 2005. He wrote in case of his death:

“I know what honor is. It is not a word to be thrown around. It has been an Honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to . . . ”

A tribute posted on a website dedicated to Staff Sergeant Clay summed up the helplessness we all feel when we learn of a life extinguished in defense of our nation: “I wish I could take your families and friends’ pain away, but I can’t. . . . Thank you is not enough, but it is all I have.”

JVH

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