World War II Memorial and Vietnam Memorial, Washington, D.C., cc credits: flickr Jeff Kubina
I would be remiss this day if I don't take a moment to thank the families (current and past) who have lost loved ones in the defense of our country. Thank you for your sacrifices.
Both of the images taken above by Jeff Kubina really humbled me.
Regardless of one's politics, these warrior souls should never be forgotten.
Good time as any to remind folks of the amazing Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Vietnam Wall) : Footnote.com where you can look up and perform searches by name, Service branch, home town, or enlistment. They are working on a beta search that has even more detailed views.
What makes Footnote's project so special is that they have digitized the entire wall and when you select a name, you can see the actual image of the soldier's name on the wall.
I did a search for those who fallen who had listed Houston as their home town and found 356 matches. Very humbling.
On my bookshelf at work, I have a framed copy of General Douglas MacArthur's Farewell Speech to West Point. I like to pause to reflect on it from time to time. Helps me stay in touch with a greater purpose for service and work.
Let me offer but a portion of the speech below:
Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.
Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.
These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.
You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.
The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.
This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."
Thank you, you ghosts of war.