It was a different time back then, with citizens of all background cheering our fighting forces on and wanting the enemy driven from the battlefield. Patriotism was high and I remember as a young boy trying to emulate those soldiers of less than a ten year prior time by playing soldier with reckless abandon in our quest for victory against Hitler and the Third Reich. Those were the days when Audie Murphy, himself a highly decorated Medal of Honor winner, Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney and others presented war in a way that made a little boy want to be a soldier and that also made the Boy Scouts prosper as just about every boy I knew was active therein. Yes, we would learn later about the other side of war, but it did inspire patriotism and pride in our country which has lived on with me ever since. What is sad, however, is that we as the adults did nothing to make sure those historical bonds remained and today we have generations that not only don't recognize sacrifice, they don't even understand the reality of our national past, substituting dogma and nonsense for what was true in real history.
Now concerning the Victory Arch, I can remember special ceremonies being held there with the one most prominent left in my memory coming from the Memorial Day holiday. On numerous occasions I attended the ceremony, both as a little boy and as one approaching full adulthood and getting ready to go off to college and the sessions were all very moving. While I always tried to hide my honest emotional feelings, I often had to hide a tear or two as I thought about what the ceremony and that glorious arch meant to me and so many others. But about the time I was in my early years of high school, I remember the arch was closed for sometime as it was redone like new, and when it reopened later in 1962 it had the luster Mom said that it had when she first saw it in the early 1940's. What's more the ceremony was unique because it honored the fallen not just in the United States Armed Forces but also in the Confederate Army for the other combatant, also full blooded Americans, in the Confederate Army who were Virginians. You see, back in those day Virginia memorialized Confederate soldiers with the day being designated officially as Confederate Memorial Day. All other fallen soldiers who were in the United States Army in all wars, including the Civil War, were also honored since it was not a sign of disrespect for the USA but rather, a sign of remembrance of Virginia's young boys who fought for the South. The event had costumed soldiers of that day and a speech by someone special coupled with color guards and pageantry made it a time for remembrance. It, of course, also highlighted the United States military, yet as even the Veterans Administration considers today, Confederate veterans were also considered American soldiers but, of course, none are left alive in this modern day.
I miss those days. I miss being able to take pride in my community and family and friends with heritage of the Old South. Why can't we understand that heritage is not about hate, but about honoring those who did what they did for all they right reasons? We can't judge yesterday by today's standards because they weren't real at the time. No one today know what it was like to live in an agrarian society with another half of that nation becoming industrialized and expecting the South to change on a whim and bankrupt itself. Furthermore, had Northern bankers not financed slavery, it would have never taken hold. But, of course, instead they wanted to blame the South for everything and suffer while to bankers gathered their fortunes and kept quiet. Do some reading about the later carpetbag era of Reconstruction and you'll find enough corruption to destroy any society and Lincoln understood that. Reconstruction would likely never have occurred as it did had he not been assassinated and that would have meant a much quicker and much more successful national return to a common union that would have avoided so much strife and aftermath that caused many of the later problems in our society. And neither my mother or father came from families that had anything to do with slavery since in the one case, they were hard working people in Scotland and in the other they were simple farmers who worked hard in their own fields or in subsistence fishing and selling of seafood products that they caught themselves. And today we even find people expecting special privilege who had family member who traded their own people into slavery in their past.
So, on this Memorial Day, let's remember what is really important. Young men and women, most of common backgrounds joined the military to do what was expected of them and did so well and many died doing what they had to do. Yet, they did so with pride and determination and isn't that honorable as opposed to those who complain today while not offering a finger to do anything for anyone else. And, of course we learn from our mistakes but we need to apply common sense and a belief in God at the center of all we do. And if we do not, the America where we live today won't see many more memorial days at all. We will fall into disrepair, total confusion and chaos and destroy ourselves. Instead let's honor all Americans who fought and died for us regardless of their background or foundation and get on our knees and pray for redemption and salvation which only God can provide. May God bless and protect you as you remember what is important and what Memorial Day represents. It represents a way of life, courage, sacrifice and honor with God on our side. Let us try to reinstate it here and now in the United States of America.