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This Memorial Day, “Earn it”

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches. I am taken back in time to 1998, when “Saving Private Ryan” was released. The movie has several meanings to me, but the one I would like to concentrate on is towards the last of the film.

The scene shows James Francis Ryan and his family visiting Captain John H. Miller’s gravesite, years after the events of World War II had transpired along with the mission of Saving Private James Francis Ryan. We see James reflecting on his life, after being saved by an individual unit, specializing in finding and returning Ryan to a safe area to prepare to return home to Iowa.

While Ryan was in solemn, deep and sober thought. His memory returns to the last time he had any interaction with Captain Miller. Captain Miller had been shot and was resting against a motor vehicle. He was dying and there was nothing anyone of the soldiers could do for him. The unit had held off German soldiers and the Calvary had arrived to save the remainder American soldiers that has survived the onslaught.

Ryan’s memory shows how he leaned down to Captain Miller and having a conversation about the air units just arriving and Miller described P-52’s as “angels on our shoulders“. Miller starts to say something, but it is quiet.

Ryan asked, “what sir?” Miller raised his right shaky hand to grasp Ryan’s left arm to pull him in closer. Miller then whispered, “James, earn this“. Just as he passed away. This was an emotional part in the film and for myself as I was watching it. It was a tearjerker.

Ryan snapped out of the memory and was in present day form as an older James as he was standing near Captain Miller’s gravesite. As his family is walking toward Ryan, he kneels down to say a few words of respect and honor. He stands back-up and his wife walks over and stands next to him. In a state of humility and gratitude, he asks a question. “Tell me I have led a good life.” In shock and confusion, his wife replies. “What?” A follow-up question. “Tell me I am a good man.” She breaks eye contact and looks at the grave marker and returns the gaze toward Ryan. “You are.”

What makes men and women good? On what basis and according to who’s moral standards?

Did Ryan live a “good life?” We can assume.

The question I have now is what Miller said to Ryan. Have we, as Americans earned it? Have we earned the freedom and liberty for ourselves and our posterity as the baton has been passed down to us from past generations. We seem to have had it pretty easy as modern Americans, not having to sacrifice like other generations have.

We need all Americans to awaken, stand-up and get involved.

America is under attack. Society is being destroyed in the form of cancel and woke culture. I can hope that more Americans will understand what the lives of those who fought and died in our our nations history has been for, such as that of God, family and country.

“In 212 B.C., 460 scholars were “canceled,” permanently, when Emperor Qin Shi Huang had them buried alive for owning forbidden books. The Qin, who’d united China, made the argument, “We don’t want to hear people criticize the present by referring to the past,” Harvard University Chinese history professor Peter Bol told the BBC in 2012. ‘The past is irrelevant. History is irrelevant. And so, you have the burning of books, you have the burying of scholars, of scholarly critics.'” — Selwyn Duke

We need to earn our freedoms once again. It might not be going off to war in other lands, but it will take courage once again to make our country the home of the brave and the land of the free. The current battle is for the hearts and minds of our youth along with our culture, and it is going on right now in our schools, city hall and Washington D.C. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, but an American problem.

“The best way to fight an alien and oppressive culture is to embrace your own.” — African proverb

We need to understand and restore America’s culture in the form of God, family and country.

“With the American Revolution came a new rationale for basic literacy, and a new aim. Whereas the revolution of Luther and Calvin had provided a theological justification for reading, the revolution of Washington and Adams provided a civic one. Now children needed to read to be good Protestants but also to be good citizens to free themselves from the tyranny of popes as well as kings.” — Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy

We have a duty, responsibility and legacy to leave the next generation. We need to cut through the amnesia and remember what it means to be Americans once again. It will take energy, and action by way of studying and applying what the Founding Fathers formed and built for our countrymen.

“Patriotism . . . leaves legacies to rising generations instead of debt. It leaves a clean turf, not the debris of selfish society. Tolkien wisely counseled, saying: “It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” How are we doing, ladies and gentlemen, with those years wherein we are set?” — Neal A. Maxwell, 1993 Provo Freedom Festival

Have we and more specific, have you earned it?

If you feel a little embarrassed, ashamed, guilty or ignorant about not earning it. It is not too late. We not only have rights, but have a moral duty, responsibility and obligation to “serve past, present, and future generations.”

“The single biggest thing I learned was from an indigenous elder of Cherokee descent, Stan Rushworth . . . an indigenous mindset of “I have obligations.”

Instead of thinking that I am born with rights, I choose to think that I am born with obligations to serve past, present, and future generations . . . ” — Dahr Jamail

Let’s get to work!


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