The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
As we gather to honor our fallen heroes, there is always someone who will claim with anguish, “what senseless deaths”. Though they say it from a deep heart of grieving, it is not for us to pick out which deaths had meaning and which ones did not. It is for us to remember that we enjoy our measure of freedom because of the selfless service of those in the military who paid the ultimate price to keep us in the secure world we live in today.
Sometimes in the case of the Vietnam War, people use the word “lost” – but it is history that has the final verdict. Sometimes lost turns out to be a win. In that conflict, communism failed to spread its misery to the millions behind Indochina and kept it soundly in mainland Asia where it was forced to fulfill its promises and failed horribly to do so for the hundreds of millions under its influence. It was our brave soldiers that were the bulwarks that the full force of communist fanaticism fell upon. Likewise, the suffering of Afghanistan and Iraq are and were the result of our brave citizens who were the seawalls against the raging waves of fanatical ideology.
I go through a cathartic process every time I watch the International History Channel or the other channels that deal with the past and I see the horrible suffering of other nations whose military were unable to keep them free and to see the deep affects of political slavery. It also makes me angry to know that so many in our country do not understand that we would fall into the same level of suffering if we did not have the sacrifice of these men and women. They truly are and were our shields. And this is the time to remember them.
And looking into the future, I realize that such brave sacrifices may be needed again, and again. As Thomas Jefferson so wisely stated,
A tyrant is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.”
What new (or old) ideology will come to endanger our shores and what tyrant yet to be will send it forth?
As we see the march of wars in the past, declared and undeclared; we see that here in Newburyport, we have had regular citizens amongst us who rose up to be those human shields and to deal with the tyrants who stirred up hatred for us in the world.
We will get to honor them today for their sacrifice.
And be prepared to honor those in the future who must take up the flag of selflessness to keep all of us free.