Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day Salute and/or Handshake
General Henry Lee, from my mother's side of the family, fought under this flag to help form this country and defend it from tyranny. We've added a few stars to go with the stripes but one thing is certain: Freedom is not free, it is a precious thing that must be fought for from within and from without. I am glad to say that my family tree includes soldiers from every war era and my son Robert recently ended five years of service as a Sergeant and has now returned home to become a history teacher. Most in our family who served stayed one term of service during wartime and then came back home to begin a civilian life and start a family. But if you served for three years or thirty, you have known and understood the concept of being ready to fight and die for the nation you serve.
When America was being formed, Benjamin Franklin made a woodcutting (1754) using a snake motif. The irony of this is that Franklin himself had once suggested that, since England liked to send prisoners over to America, perhaps we should send rattlesnakes back to them. But soon a rattlesnake became emblematic of the colonies as they began to consider uniting and forming a nation:
This woodcutting fits in nicely with the famous Gadsden Flag:
In 1775, Franklin said of the rattlesnake as being emblematic of our nation:
I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?
A personal shout-out to all who served with me in Cobra Company (you know who you are)! Many of America's best have given time and effort and blood and sweat and tears and even their lives so that we could live free. Thanks to all of you who have served your nation. Officers, I salute you. Sergeants, I realize you work for a living and desire no salute. Fellow veterans, I applaud and thank you. Let us be vigilant, looking both ahead and behind, ready to defend the Constitution of the United States and our families from all enemies!
Mensa Barbie reminded me of this: