Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ‘twixt that darkness and that light.
Four years ago I compiled this video for Memorial Day — in the years hence it has become one of the most watched (and commented on) of all the ones I’ve put up. My precept going into the making of the video was simple — focus on the venues where our freedom was won and preserved, and lift up those who gave their all – private to flag officer, warfighter and corpsman. Sailor, aviator, soldier or Marine – they came from every state and territory, mostly willingly, sometimes reluctantly. Oft filled with concern over what the immediate future portended, they knew full well what it would be if they passed on their duty. Citizen-soldiers – regular, reserve and guard they served on, over and under this earth and its seas in our defense and in the name of liberty. From the greens at Lexington and Concord to the flak-filled skies over Schweinfurt. Manassas to the Marne. Across the bloody beaches of Normandy and Tarawa to the depths of Iron Bottom Sound and the trackless north Atlantic. They were called — and they answered:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not 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. 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 honored 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, under God, 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.
May we remember and honor those who gave their all…