Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Tributes

My Memorial Day Tribute starts with this poem:

"It is the Soldier, not the minister Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag." .........................

- Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC (often incorrectly attributed to Charles M. Province)

The other day somebody asked me what it meant to me to be an American? My answer was as follows:
I was not born an American, rather became a citizen 10 years ago, when I had lived in this country longer than I had in any other country. For me to be an American means to be free, free to choose my occupation, my place of living, free to vote and to express my opinion, free to create my life. This freedom also provides the protection from foreign invasions as well as safety while traveling overseas. This is the only country in the world which declares: In God We Trust. America was founded by God fearing people who came here leaving everything else behind, ready to make a new beginning. They built a house for God and community worship first before they built their own homes. They came to build one culture and language disregarding their own personal heritage and traditions. One Nation under God has to be our motto and is the solution for all of our problems today. If the founding fathers of this country had the humility to bow their heads in prayer to ask for guidance and direction why can’t we today? I am proud to be an American and proud of my German heritage.

Let's give tribute to others who defended the freedom of their country (Germany):

During WWII, the only visible manifestation of opposition to the regime following Stalingrad was an unexpected and completely spontaneous outbreak of anti-war sentiment among a small number of university students, organised by a group called the White Rose, centered in Munich but with connections in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Vienna. In January 1943 they launched a campaign of antiwar handbills and graffiti in and around Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. Inevitably, they were soon detected and arrested. The three ringleaders, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst, were given perfunctory trials and executed, as was Kurt Huber, a professor of music and philosophy accused of inspiring their actions, and several others.
In the spirit of freedom and bravery I also like to remember some people who stood up again tyranny. I recently watched the movie "Valkyrie." Contrary to many other historical accounts that Germany stood silently in the face of Hitler's atrocities, Valkyrie portraits, Graf Claus von Stauffenberg as a German officer heading one of the many resistances. He used his military influences and Hitler's own plan (operation Valkyrie) to get close to the "Fuehrer" and tried to assassinate him. Another strong force against the Nazis was General Friedrich Olbricht who was the master-mind behind the assassination plot, and General Hans Oster who were the driving force behind the German resistance.

Let us honor today the many great men and women who stand to protect our freedom and gave their lives for a better future by defending our God-given rights.

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