Memorial Day 2011

On Memorial Day 2011 we commemorate those who died in the service of our country.  I offer three quotations related to men giving their lives in battle for you to meditate on.

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day 2011

First a famous stanza from “Ballad of Sir Andrew Barton”

“Fight on, my men,” says Sir Andrew Barton,
“I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I’ll lay me down and bleed a while,
And then I’ll rise and fight again.”

Next the closing sentences of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

This third one echoes Thomas Jefferson’s observation in a letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787 that ” The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.“
Robert A. Heinlein

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Photo Credit: Mark Fischer “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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