Memorial Day: Honor the Fallen, Widows, Orphans
The nation must prayerfully pause during this sacred Memorial solemnity and remember the sacrifices of the fallen, as well as of their widows and orphans.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: Iconic Memorial Dignity
For America to truly understand the dignity of Memorial Day, it is imperative to reflect on Abraham Lincoln’s profound respect for those who died for the nation.
In the words of the Gettysburg address, a speech delivered by Lincoln at the November 19, 1863 dedication of Soldiers Cemetery, his eloquence can ignite a fire of devotion in the soul.
In his words for Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, Lincoln succinctly honored the Union sacrifices with less than 300 words, now immortalized throughout the world as one of history’s most eloquent orations.
Lincoln not only honored the dead but reminded listeners then, and throughout the ages, that the soldiers sacrifice was sacrosanct and served America’s most noble values of liberty, equality, unity, freedom, democracy, and spirituality as exemplified in this excerpt:
“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."
Lincolns Second Inaugural Address: Binding the Wounds
Complementing Lincoln’s devotion to those who consecrated the ground at Gettysburg with their sacrifices, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural on March 4, 1865, gave a comprehensive perspective on the ultimate sacrifice.
Once again, the master of brevity, with only 703 words in his speech, placed the Civil War in the eyes of compassion, character, and the monstrous injustice of slavery.
Lincoln did not demonize the South by giving the North a victory speech, nor did he excoriate the South of the inhumanity of slavery.
Instead, he called to task the entire nation as guilty, and pleaded for reconciliation, unity, empathy, and sensitivity which included this burning decree:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Honoring a Hero, Widow, and Child
Michael was born in 2010, but his story is all but ordinary, as he is the son of Derek Wyatt, a twenty-five-year-old Marine killed in Afghanistan the day before Michael’s birth.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Corporal Derek A. Wyatt, 25, of Akron, Ohio, died December 6, 2010 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
His wife Kait, a Marine veteran, gave birth to the couples baby Michael, at Camp Pendleton in California, the evening after her husband was killed by a sniper while he was leading other Marines.
Our nation must also reflect on Lincoln’s devotion to all who have consecrated America by their sacrifice, and to forever honor, assist, and support their widows, and children.
Memorial Day: Honoring America’s Sacred Sacrifices
America’s Veterans Deserve Honor, Homes, Health Care
American Holidays: Time to Honor Military Sacrifices
Life Lessons From the United States Military
America’s Veterans: Honoring Our Heroes
America’s Flag, Patriotism: Resuscitating Our Destiny
1.Kyatt Wyatt carries her 1-month-old son, Michael at the burial of her husband, Marine Cpl. Derek Wyatt, at Arlington National Cemetery, January 7, 2011. Wyatt was killed December 6, 2010 in Afghanistan. (Courtesy Arlington National Cemetery)
2. Michael Wyatt, son of Kate and Derek Wyatt. (Credit Esquire Magazine, October, 2013 edition)
Kait Wyattt, widow of U.S. Marine Derek Wyatt, clutches the American flag which was draped over her husbands casket during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery. (Courtesy Arlington National Cemetery)
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Vincent is author of 180 articles including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing.