Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

05/31/2010 (11:54 am)


Here Rests In Honored Glory
An American Soldier
Known But To God

The Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, contains the remains of three unidentified American military servicemen. The first was buried on November 21, 1921, to represent all the missing and unidentified casualties from World War I. On Memorial Day, 1958, two additional unidentified soldiers were interred in the tomb, one from World War II, one from the Korean war. A fourth unknown was interred there in 1968 to represent the Vietnam war, but later investigation determined the identity of that soldier, so he was removed and buried in a marked grave. Modern DNA identification may prevent any further casualties from ever being added to the tomb.

A military guard has protected the site for every minute of every day since 1937, regardless of weather, time of day, or circumstance. This takes discipline and fortitude on the part of the individual guard, and a wholehearted commitment on the part of the American military that maintains the guard. In this manner, a grateful nation acknowledges the sacrifice offered by ordinary men and women in extraordinary circumstances, defending our ability to live safely in our own homes.

They died an ugly death, in pain and misery, a long way from home. They probably died afraid. Most likely, though, they had some opportunity to be somewhere else, and refused it to do what they and the nation decided was necessary. There’s nothing unique about dead soldiers; they’ve existed so long as humans have gathered into clans. These solders, however, died defending a self-governing nation, and died defending our right to continue to govern ourselves. That makes their sacrifice as great as the sacrifice of the most highly honored Homeric hero, or that of the greatest king ever to die in battle. The fact of self-government makes the sacrifice of each American soldier personal; he died defending his own. We do well to remember them, even those we did not know.

Happy Memorial Day, 2010.

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