Memorial Day 2017 and the True Cost of Freedom

Taps is played one final time by Lance Cpl M.A. Petty, Drum & Bugle Corps, Marine Barracks Washington. The interment ceremony Oct 7, 2005 at Arlington National Cemetery was for the 11 Marines recently brought back from Vietnam. ANC, the final resting place for America’s honored heroes, was the rain-laden backdrop to the history-making event that saw hundreds of friends, service members and families pay tribute to the men who gave the ultimate sacrifice so many years before. Photo by Gunnery Sgt Kent Flora

Here is Dr. Jerry Newcombe writing at BarbWire about Memorial Day:

Freedom, of course, is not free. It has been bought and paid for. The freedoms we enjoy in America are ours because of those who laid down their lives in service to our country. With another Memorial Day upon us, it’s good to be reminded of the debt we owe to their sacrifice.

On Memorial Day 1982 at Arlington National Cemetery, Ronald Reagan said of those who died in service of our country: “Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we – in a less final, less heroic way – be willing to give of ourselves.”

Frequently, “Taps” is performed by a bugler during these Memorial Day services – often bringing a lump to the throat. There are slight variations on the words to “Taps,” but they all tend to end with the phrase “God is nigh,” that is, God is near.

Here’s a common rendition of the words for “Taps”:

Day is done, Gone the sun,
From the lake, From the hill,
From the sky.
All is well, Safely rest,
God is nigh.

Perhaps, as the influence of Christianity has waned in the culture, so has the commitment to patriotism. Consider some remarks from our nation’s founding.

One of our country’s great founding fathers was Rev. John Witherspoon, the president of Princeton, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Witherspoon said in a sermon, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men” (May 17, 1776): “It is in the man of piety and inward principle, that we may expect to find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier. God, grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.”

Read more: BarbWire

Image credit: Gunnery Sgt. Kent Flora — Marines Magazine.