Despite the busyness, today is a fine opportunity to reflect on concept that has given us this idyllic 3 day weekend. We must stand silent before the memory of those who have done the impossible and given the ultimate price to secure our freedom. To do this, I offer a contrast from current events. It is the difference between Jessie MacBeth and Paul Smith. For many months Jessie MacBeth made a name for himself slandering and defaming the American fighting man. He was a Peace Films video superstar and anti-war darling. Let me say now that while I disagree with those who believe that war is always wrong or think that the US and the world would be better served by us leaving Iraq, I understand and generally respect those who do so thoughtfully and sincerely. MacBeth gave compelling testimony about the atrocities and crimes regularly committed by him and his fellow Army Rangers. He claimed to have killed at least 200 civilians personally, and at times 30-40 a night as a unit. He related being haunted by a raid on a mosque in which a few hundred people were killed, burned and hung from the rafters.
All amazing revelations to be sure…except our friend Jessie was never in Iraq…or the Rangers…or the Army for any real period. It seems that he was kicked out after a grand total of 6 weeks for being incompetent. Like fellow faker Micah Ian Wright, MacBeth felt that the reputation of good men (and some great men) was secondary to his agenda.
Great men like Paul Smith. Men with regular names and regular backgrounds who do extraordinary things in the defense of their friends and their nation. Smith is one of two men to receive the highest citation for combat bravery, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in Iraq. Click the link on his name to read the full citation. In short, Smith was killed in a firefight as a true American hero. Against all odds, he saved multiple injured comrades while simultaneously fighting off an ambush and only after the victory had been secured did he succumb to his wounds.
I am humbled by men such as Paul Smith. I cannot repay him or his family for what he has given and I’m not sure that if he could speak to me that he would even ask me to. Unfortunately, such heroism is beyond words and words are all I have. Please take a moment this weekend and think about what it costs to have Memorial Day picnics in a great nation. The value of our freedom can only be quantified by what it cost to attain it. With this in mind I plead, not demand, that God bless America.