Jeff Davis Post mem­bers gather for Memo­rial Day

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DAN TABLER Con­tribut­ing Writer

CENTREVILLE — A mil­i­tary veteran of three tours of duty in Viet­nam gave an in­spir­ing talk on Memo­rial Day as mem­bers of Jeff Davis Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 18 ob­served the hol­i­day with the pub­lic at the Post Home.

Hart An­der­son, who is ser­vice of­fi­cer for the Post, was an oral sur­geon in the U.S. Navy serv­ing as a cap­tain in a ca­reer which in­cluded the three tours of duty in Viet­nam, was in­tro­duced as main speaker by John Perkins, the master of cer­e­monies, who is 1st vice-com­man­der of the Post.

An­der­son es­pe­cially noted the be­gin­ning of our Memo­rial Day ob­ser­vances, which be­gan back in 1868, and how we ren­der honor to all mil­i­tary dead in our na­tion’s wars. He de­clared, “All gave some, and some gave all.”

“Good morn­ing and thank you for join­ing the Amer­i­can Le­gion, Jeff Davis, Post 18 for our recog­ni­tion of Memo­rial Day, which had its be­gin­nings with the widely doc­u­mented memo­ri­als usu­ally held by the women from lo­cal South­ern churches dur­ing the first week of May, specif­i­cally to dec­o­rate the

graves of fallen civil war dead, soldiers from both the Blue and the Grey,” An­der­son said.

“This even­tu­ally be­came Dec­o­ra­tion Day in many of the South­ern states. Al­though the name and the date of this memo­rial gath­er­ing has changed sev­eral times over the last 150 years, its pur­pose re­mains con­sis­tent as a for­mal re­mem­brance, specif­i­cally to honor the Ser­vice of those men and women who died while in the Armed Forces of the United States.

“In 1868 Gen. John A. Lo­gan, speak­ing on be­half of a now united North and South, is­sued a procla­ma­tion call­ing for Dec­o­ra­tion Day to be rec­og­nized na­tion­wide on the 30th of May, the date cho­sen from those few days dur­ing the month of May that recorded the men and guns of both the Blue and Grey were quiet, the bat­tle­fields with­out com­bat.

“Se­lect­ing a date that rec­og­nizes a pause in bat­tle over com­bat ad­van­tage makes his choice, I be­lieve, uniquely Amer­i­can and con­sis­tent with our na­tional net­work of com­bined and shared per­sonal en­ergy to im­prove, to fix, to solve and to in­vent a new way that gives us our strength and power.

“The good old Amer­i­can can-do abil­ity is found in the av­er­age U.S. cit­i­zen, whose cre­ativ­ity and drive founded this demo­cratic ex­per­i­ment and made pos­si­ble all the end­less ac­com­plish­ments from the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War to walk­ing on the moon and the de­feat of Com­mu­nism, al­low­ing or­di­nary Amer­i­cans like you and me to be part of these ex­tra­or­di­nary things. Our demo­cratic form of govern­ment and the rule of law have granted us free­dom to think, wor­ship and act in our own be­half. Per­sonal free­dom is the power that un­leashes the or­di­nary per­son’s cre­ativ­ity and drive.

“We must never for­get that this free­dom, which has joined us to­gether as a strong na­tion, is not free. Cit­i­zens who pop­u­late this demo­cratic form of govern­ment re­quire self-dis­ci­pline, re­spect for the rights of fel­low cit­i­zens and ed­u­ca­tion with a min­i­mum of lit­er­acy to guide aware­ness, eval­u­a­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion in lo­cal and na­tional is­sues. Ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship al­lows us to be ef­fec­tive, pros­per and en­dure.

“While Amer­i­cans will ac­cept and even en­cour­age change, there is lit­tle ar­gu­ment we have been granted the peace to cel­e­brate the vic­tory that has fol­lowed res­o­lu­tion of more than one in­ter­na­tional con­flict only by and through the ded­i­ca­tion and sac­ri­fice of our mil­i­tar y.

“Our sons and now greater num­bers of our daugh­ters are will­ing to vol­un­tar­ily go in harm’s way to pro­tect and pre­serve our way of life, whose demo­cratic form of govern­ment and the rule of law have granted us free­dom to think and act in our own be­half. Never for­get that the orig­i­nal sweat, blood and per­sonal re­sources that launched this govern­ment were first in­vested by the peo­ple who put on the uni­forms of amer­ica’s Armed Forces.

“If our mil­i­tary is given sup­port, the young men and women sent to de­fend us will keep our coun­try safe and in­tact but risk is at the tip of the spear wielded by our govern­ment in con­tin­u­ing to de­fend us. In fact, this is done with such grace you might not be fully aware that our United States was and had been un­der at­tack for years. It was here, it has hap­pened in Amer­ica and to Amer­i­cans as we stood cul­tur­ally blinded and we still re­main al­most three decades later, cau­tious to name its source.

“Amer­ica and other nonIs­lamic na­tions are at risk from ac­tivists bound and mo­ti­vated by a com­mon re­li­gious be­lief that has fielded an army ad­vanc­ing with­out a na­tional flag, uni­form or code of honor we rec­og­nize. Its weapon is ter­ror, de­rived from sud­den death and in­jury to civil­ians — men, women and chil­dren — non­com­bat­ants judged guilty and made vic­tims of ji­had sim­ply by liv­ing out­side a com­mit­ment to the Qur’an. The goal of this ji­hadist army reaches from the dom­i­nance of cul­tures that ac­tively op­pose Sharia Law to the de­struc­tion of na­tions whose mere ex­is­tence as in­fi­del, de­files Is­lam.

“Pro­tect­ing our­selves from a threat we have trou­ble defin­ing cul­tur­ally may be in­tel­lec­tu­ally con­fus­ing, emo­tion­ally tax­ing and even phys­i­cally stress­ful or dis­rup­tive. Our win­dow to this is pro­vided by the 25/7 world­wide me­dia, al­low­ing us to re­peat­edly wit­ness any con­flict of their choos­ing ac­com­pa­nied by emo­tional com­men­tary in al­most real time. Awash in seem­ingly end­less chaos and suf­fer­ing we must be care­ful not to re­act emo­tion­ally be­cause it is our most ba­sic re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure the young men and women sent to de­fend us are given the very best sup­port pos­si­ble and they will keep our coun­try safe and in­tact.

“It is dif­fi­cult not to pause in front of the memo­rial we have placed at the en­trance of this Amer­i­can Le­gion Post. I find it a very poignant trib­ute to our fight­ing man. This statue, ‘The Soldiers Cross,’ is vis­ual po­etry and the sym­bol­ism of the empty worn boots, the dis­carded weapon adorned with per­sonal ar­mor, holds a strong and melan­choly mes­sage: the owner of this in­dis­pens­able col­lec­tion of mil­i­tar y gear, no longer has a need for them,” he con­tin­ued.

“This is a vis­ual Memo­rial Day trib­ute. The owner of these ob­jects has sac­ri­ficed, in fact given all and is wor­thy of our honor. The base of this memo­rial car­ries a mes­sage ap­pro­pri­ate for Memo­rial Day: All gave some; Some gave all.

“A pow­er­ful and true state­ment that can be ad­vanced anytime the mil­i­tary is hon­ored, of­ten best done with family pic­nics, yel­low rib­bons or quiet prayer.

“There is al­ways a price and there will be loss among those who pro­tect our na­tion. For our mil­i­tary’s sac­ri­fice, we must as a na­tion, wel­come back those re­turn­ing and ren­der honor to those who fell. We shall also ren­der honor to those who can never re­turn but ill for­ever stand watch from mil­i­tar y ceme­ter­ies world­wide, such as Vir­ginia’s Ar­ling­ton, Bel­gium’s Flan­ders Fields or the scat­tered graves of the MIA, known only to God.”

The col­ors were ad­vanced by a Ma­rine Corps honor guard com­posed of Ge­orge “Smokey” Sigler, Leo Stepp, Fred Cain and Alan Hens­ley.

Prayer was given by Post Chap­lain Joe Pot­ter be­fore 1st Vice-Com­man­der Perkins called on the main speaker. Also speak­ing to the crowd in the Post Home was Greg Man­ning, who is Post Ad­ju­tant.

Of­fi­cers of the Le­gion Post other than those al­ready named are: Com­man­der Mike Dill, 2nd ViceCom­man­der Steve Hardy, Judge Ad­vo­cate Vince Hig­gins, and Sgt.-at-Arms Mark Benny.

Fol­low­ing the pro­gram, the Post Aux­il­iary Unit 18 served a luncheon.

A Ma­rine Corps Honor Guard ad­vancea the col­ors at the Jeff Davis Post home on Memo­rial Day. From left: Ge­orge “Smokey” Sigler, Leo Stepp, Fred Cain and Alan Hens­ley.

PHO­TOS BY DAN TABLER

Jeff Davis Post Ad­ju­tant Greg Man­ning talks to the au­di­ence at the Post home on Memo­rial Day.

PHOTO BY DAN TABLER

U.S. Navy Capt. (Ret.) Hart An­der­son, the Jeff Davis Post’s Ser­vice Of­fi­cer, gave the main speech of the Memo­rial Day ser­vice at the Post home.

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