"Tell them, tell them when you get home that I gave all of my tomorrow's so they could have today!"
Those are the words on a tombstone, far across the Pacific, of someone who gave up his life for our future. Were those words uttered so that those of us who are left could just enjoy our lives without "getting involved" or were they written to remind us that the work of freedom and liberty is never done?
Were those words written to suggest to us that it is not our job nor our responsibility to keep alive what they fought and died for or were they written to remind us that we were given the opportunity of life so that we would continue to defend, and keep alive the memory of what they gave their last full measure for?
Let us here today, tonight, tomorrow, next month and next year - remember these gallant defenders of our freedom. Most were not heroes as defined by the most hallowed Medal of Honor nor even as defined by the silver or bronze star. But they were ALL HEROES. Yes they were heros because, without hesitation they fought for our country when they were asked to defend her.
Most didn't die throwing themselves on a hand grenade, charging a bunker or manning a machine gun until their ammunition was gone. Most didn't die diving their airplane into an enemy ship or marching in the infamous Bataan Death march -- but they are heroes because they fought when asked to fight. They left their families, friends and good times behind and went to fight for our freedom without hesitation.
Some -- never even fired their weapons because they were killed before they ever reached the beach. But they were heroes because they were there, ready to fight for America - for family, flag and country.
Most were scared to death as they prepared to meet the enemy. Their stomachs were turned upside down and they prayed to God and wished they were with their moms, dads and sweethearts rather than being where they were.
But they were where they were, fighting an enemy that was threatening their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They were fighting an enemy because they believed in America, they loved Her flag and they wanted to protect American's right to worship as they chose. They were there, without hesitation, fighting for what they believed in and dying for what they believed in so you and I could live the way we chose in a free country.
But they did not die so that we would stop fighting for what they believed and died for. They fought and died knowing that we, the living, would go on fighting for that same freedom, that same country, that same flag and for that same right to worship as we choose.
Abraham Lincoln, at Gettysburg, said:
"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."
It is for us the living to go on defending what they died for. It is for us the living not to allow history to forget what they gave up all their tomorrow's for. It is for us the living to expect to get a bit uncomfortable as we continue to tell the truth even as the vocal minorities try to silence us.
Good Enough is Not Good Enough! When we open our mouths but once and we're told we shouldn't say that --- we must not say we tried --- good enough! Good enough is not good enough.
If when we attacked Guadalcanal and landed at Salerno, we found that "they" were going to fight back, we didn't give up because they fought back. We continued to fight because we knew our cause was right!
When Americans rode in the landing craft before storming the beaches at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, Peleliu, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Inchon and many other places we had never heard of before and when they fought in North Africa, the Phillipines, Italy, France, Bastonne, Germany, Korea and Vietnam -- most were scared to death; their stomachs were turned upside down and they wanted to be back home with their loved ones. But that did not stop them from attacking America's enemies bravely and without hesitation. They fought, and many died, but they did not give up because someone shot back at them.
It is for us the living to continue to defend and keep known what they fought and died for -- what they gave up all of their tomorrow's for. They did not die so that we could become complacent; nor did they die so that when we, the living, reached a single obstacle --- we should quit. They died knowing that we would go on defending their actions, defending history and defending what they gave up all their tomorrow's for.
If WE don't remember ---if WE don't defend what they fought and died for and what we fought for -- who will remember? Who will care?
Revisionists are attempting to change history. ---- At the Smithsonion they sought to tell of our supposed attrocies to our past enemies. America's Ambassador to Japan apologized to the Japanese for us without getting any apology, nor even an acknowledgement of wrong-doing. Peter Jennings had an hour long TV special demonstrating our injustices and he expressed disappointment that the Smithsonian was prevented from displaying all the photographs of the results of our bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He expressed disappointment that veterans blocked the truth from being known. And --- until many Minnesota veterans and Asian Americans protested --- a mass Requiem Hiroshima, was to be played for the dead, caused by America and Americans, of the bombing of Hiroshima without describing the events and atrocities committed that led up to our having to drop the bomb.
Today -- WE are even prevented from protecting our flag by the minority and a few in Washington DC even though most Americans proclaim that burning our flag is not what they consider free speech. How many of us who fought for our flag and our country remember the feeling as Old Glory" was being raised over a piece of land we fought for ---- and many died for? How many remember seeing or hearing about our valiant warriors, who were fighting on Iwo Jima, as they stood and cheered when they saw the flag being raised over Mt. Suribachi.
Today our flag is not present in many classrooms across this nation and if it is there is no pledge of allegiance. Today even many of America's houses of worship do not fly "Old Glory!" Is it any wonder why America and Americans have changed so drastically?
Who ---- in the future ---- will even remember what our veterans did? Who will remember our sacrifices? Take a walk down the street today and ask people important questions about WWII, Korea and even Vietnam. How many correct answers do you think you'll receive. How many won't even answer at all and how many will say "All I know is ---- at the end of WWII ---- we shouldn't have dropped the bomb!" "We were wrong to drop the bomb!"
Who would we blame for this? All veterans and all veteran's organizations who would discourage its members from being involved in defending what they gave their lives for - would be to blame. All of us who won't take the time to write or speak or call their
representatives ----- will be to blame.
And if, when we're again called to duty ---- this time to guard the streets of Heaven ---- we look down and find that no one wants to defend our nation, no one wants to follow our flag and even the monuments to defenders past - are being torn down, we will hang our heads in shame and say why! Why did we allow ourselves to not defend what we did and what they died for?
In closing, let's remember again what Abraham Lincoln said: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain," and what President John F. Kennedy said in his famous inauguration speech -- "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country" and last of all remember that gravestone far across the Pacific which states: "Tell them I gave all my tomorrows so they could have today!"
Let's remember all of the heros in this cemetery in cemeteries all across America and all over the world ------ let's remember that they too gave all their tomorrows so that we could have today.
Thank you and God bless you.