May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Walter Russell Mead:
...Those who die for freedom, or to protect their homes and families from invaders and aggression cannot be pitied and dismissed as victims. They must be honored and respected as warriors, as men whose service ennobled them and calls forth an answering sense of dedication among the living.
As should the conscripts who did not want to fight, but went and did their duty even unto the ultimate price.
Pity and compassion can be noble emotions, but wallowing in these feelings is not what Memorial Day should be about. Our duty to the fallen is not just one of remembrance, or of caring for the wounded or those the warriors left behind. We also owe a debt of emulation: to continue to fight and if necessary to die for the great causes of our time. To fight an ideology of hatred that masks itself as religion is a noble and a generous thing to do; those who give their lives in the fight against this great evil are not victims. They are heroes, and they deserve to be remembered as such.

...The generals who ordered those boys and young men into No Man’s Land in Flanders were incompetent bunglers more often than not. This does not vitiate the heroism or render meaningless the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives in that war.

The Americans who have fallen in battle, and especially those who have fallen since 9/11, demand more from us than our pity. Their sacrifice demands that we live up to the values for which they gave their lives. Their memory demands that we embrace the generosity with which they placed themselves in harm’s way for our sake and that we dedicate ourselves to the values of liberty and toleration whose banners they followed to the end of the world.

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