Hats off to Forces | Daily News


Hats off to Forces

 “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”- President Kennedy

It’s the right time to think about President Kennedy’s statement as countrymen of this soil. There is nothing we can do which can repay those who have so sacrificed that we might be free, but everything we do does count in some small way. Abraham Lincoln put into proper perspective what we do to celebrate the lives of those who have been willing to pay the uttermost farthing for our freedom. “We cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

Then follows the challenge for us. “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Civil War has long since ended, yet the veracity of Lincoln’s statement rings equally true today as it did over 150 years ago. We cannot allow the ground where our brave have fallen. They consecrated it with their blood and their lives. And not only had the ground fought over during our Civil War but around the globe where we have fought to prevent expansion of liberty-destroying socialism, the fiendish tyranny of dictators and freedom-trampling totalitarians and terrorists around the world.

The English philosopher John Stuart Mill put this dichotomy into even more stark personal terms. He reasoned, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

Our men and women in uniform

Thousands of our sons have served honourably, wearing our nation’s military uniforms. Of those, many have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, and more than that have been wounded in combat, in defence of freedom. Yet the value of their sacrifices including their personal lives and those made by their families is truly inestimable and incalculable. The true significance is found in acknowledgement of the ultimate sacrifices made for our freedom, by our men and women in uniform. It is the reflection, acknowledgement, and gratitude for the sacrifices made by relatively few, so the many may enjoy freedom and liberty today.

One day is not sufficient to pause from the daily grind and celebrate the lives and sacrifices of those who have perpetuated our nation – this One Nation. It is through our lives need to reassess our own conviction to the principles that those who have worn the uniform of our young nation have been willing to sacrifice their own lives for, in order to preserve the legacy of freedom, from one generation to the next. Question relies on the feeling of patriotism in the present generation.

Adlai E. Stevenson, the fifth United States Ambassador to UN said, ‘Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.’ I agree wholeheartedly that it is the dedication of a lifetime that defines true patriotism. Our sons have given not only their time, dedication and effort but—most importantly—their very being to the protection and advancement of this country. They work tirelessly for the rights.

Many of the present generation have forgotten how much hardships our sons have gone through to protect this island with misconceptions on one hand and to protect the sovereignty.

General Douglas McArthur, an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army delivered his farewell speech to the cadets at the US Military Academy in May 1962.

He used the occasion to eloquently reference the nature and character of those who so choose to serve us. “When I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.”

Heroic sacrifices

In the midst of the pain, death, and horror of war there are numerous stories of ordinary people stepping up to the plate and making heroic sacrifices for their fellow soldiers and countrymen. Although the names and stories of most of these everyday heroes perish with history, every once in a while, one of those stories becomes a legend and is told from generation to generation. Serving is one thing. What our sons did during their times of service is incredible. We cannot thank them enough for putting their lives at stake to protect the freedoms we hold so dearly. But, they have gone even farther.

Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.

I am sure that our sons sacrificed their lifetime do not have such a question to rise in their lives. Our dear sons of the soil. “Thank you for the service that you have given (our) country and for the service that you continue to provide. You have not only protected but also educated, not only saved but also enriched, and we cannot thank you enough for this. We will always remember that freedom isn’t free and those who are willing to pay the price, the time away from their families, the endless dangers of the battleground, are true heroes. Thank you."

It is through the efforts of teachers and mentors that we grow and learn. The dedication you have shown in continuing your service from the front lines and in wartime to instilling a passion for public service into the hearts and minds of young men and women will never be forgotten. Because of the experience we’ve had, we are now indebted to you for your military service and your mentorship. Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

We are truly grateful for your service to our country.


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