This is Veterans Day, Day 233 of The First Ohio Shutdown and Day 169 of Riot Season.
Deb and I are well today.
In many ways I’m incurably old-school. I’m already on-record as chafing against the moving and merging of holidays, and you can blame that on my upbringing — I grew up around tradition-bound Americans at a time when we knew exactly which days to circle on the calendar each year, and we called those days by particular names.
Lincoln’s Birthday was February 12th and Washington’s Birthday was February 22nd, and we observed both. Columbus Day was October 12th. And every May we remembered our nation’s war dead on “Decoration Day,” which in my adolescence was officially renamed “Memorial Day.”
Likewise, in my family November 11th was called “Armistice Day,” commemorating the end of World War I. That’s still the way I observe it. In doing so I often quote the famous poem penned in 1915 by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae:
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
“Armistice Day” was changed to “Veterans Day” a few years before I was born.
My gratitude to our nation’s warriors knows no single day. The debt I owe to them can never be repaid. The best I can do is to make each and every day “Veterans Day.”
After I shared “In Flanders Fields” on social media this morning, a friend wrote to say how much it moved her. It affects me, too, every time I read it, especially this: “If ye break faith with us…”
In those words I hear the voice of every warrior who’s ever defended this country, every last American who gave us their youth, their innocence, their health, their family, their personal peace or their very life. They ask, plaintively, that their service and sacrifice not have been in vain.
They gave us their honor. They beg for ours.
My friend — who, by the way, wasn’t born in this country, and whose own forebears fought and died alongside Americans in those fields over a century ago — wondered aloud how we can convey that to “the kneelers and flag burners.”
Good question. And the answer, sadly, is that we probably can’t. Some people simply are incapable of honor.
So it’s up to us. It’s up to true Americans to honor our warriors, stand for our flag, sing our national anthem, speak with conviction the Pledge of Allegiance and defend precious Liberty with our lives.
We will not break faith.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.
#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath #VeteransDay