American’s have paid their respects every May (the date is controversial) going back to the 1800’s. Some say “Decoration Day” began in the mid-1860’s with the freed slaves paying homage to the Union soldiers for fighting for their freedom. Some say it was the 1880’s, but legally, it wasn’t until 1971 when Congress created the actual day known as Memorial Day.
Today across our land, many Americans will be placing flags on white gravemarkers at National Cemeteries. Others will be attending parades as a way of showing their patriotism and respect, while still others will be bowing their heads and praying over a fallen soldiers grave whom they did not even know. Unfortunately, there are many who pay their respects by attending a mattress sale at the local furniture store or go out and pound their credit cards by scarfing up sheets at the white sale at J.C. Penny. For those of you that have not a clue “why” we pay our respects to those who have fallen for our nation’s freedom, I thought I would show you the process by which a man or woman becomes a national hero to our nation. Then take a few moments and watch next video of what these men and women do and the price they pay so you can go to that furniture store and pick up your new mattress which has been marked down by 50% today.
*****WARNING***** This video contains very graphic language that is not suitable for some. *****WARNING *****
Lest you think this is just a motion picture stunt, think again. The gentleman who played Gunnery Sargent Hartman was none other than a real retired Gunnery Sargent by the name of Ermey. Gunny Sargent Ermey had actually done a stint in the Marine Corp as a Drill Sargent, and as legend has it, this scene from the movie Full Metal Jacket was not even scripted. The director supposedly said “action” and turned him loose to do his thing. I have not verified this story, but do remember reading it several times over the years that this actually took place.
***** The following is the real funeral service for Gunny Sargent Emery who passed away in April 2018. *****
Once boot camp is completed by our newest young Marine, Army Soldier, Sailor or Airman, it is off to school or the front lines for service to our nation.
Imagine being a young man from a small town in the midwest, let’s say Kearney, Nebraska or Peoria, Illinois. You have spent your life living in a picturesque neighborhood, something you would find in a Norman Rockwell painting. You grew up being a Cub Scout, then graduated to become a Boy Scout. You played football for your local high school team, then one day a recruiter stops by your school. The Principle calls all senior boys and girls who would like a to hear a presentation by a Marine Recruiter to please congregate in room 202. The recruiter shows a short film, then answers questions about a career in the military and what it might look like. He tells you all about life as a Marine, then guarantees you tuition assistance if you join.
Grabbing the leaflets he passes out, you take them home and present them to mom and dad. After a heartfelt conversation, you remember how that several years ago, your father had been laid off from the tire factory. For nearly a year he was forced to use most of his savings to support the family (he was going to use for your college), and the only way you can go to college is by using your GI Bill from serving in the military. Your father served back in the Gulf War I, your grandfather served in Vietnam, and his father served in WWII. Serving seems honorable, and you have a long family tradition of service to our country. So you join.
Your first day of arriving at Bootcamp is eerily similar to the video from above. In all your life, you have never been screamed at as this drill instructor is now yelling at all these frightened young men. Of course your scared, you have no idea what to expect.
No one anticipates when they are young or even a little older, that one day they will be facing an almost certain death. You cannot predict something like that. In all your prayers to the Lord, you never once got an inkling that you would someday be landing on a beach and fighting for your very survival.
***** WARNING ***** VERY GRAPHIC SCENES OF WAR. Probably the most graphic depiction of what it was indeed like on D-Day that has ever been produced. *****
Yet, these young men did it. They have fought beginning in 1775/1776 all the way until today. They have not a clue where they will be sent, or what they will face, but they do it because they believe in our country, they love their families, the flag and what America represents.
Today, if you visit a national cemetery thank you. If you visit a parade or a senior citizen home to thank those who served long ago, thank you. If you attend a white sale, stop for a moment and say a prayer of thanksgiving to those who faced their worst fears, took unbelievable chances, dove on a grenade in a foxhole to save their fellow brothers are charged a machine gun nest. Say thank you to those who waded into the frigid English Channel to free millions and stop tyranny and evil.
Thank you to all those that paid the prices. Thank you to the families who still grieve for their losses and those families who gave of their own for our nation. You are all loved, and you’re all very special to what we call freedom and liberty. Without you, we would not be the United States of America and the greatest nation on earth.