I’ve got another post rattling around my brain for Memorial Day. But, I don’t want to clutter that post with some other sentiments I also wish to share over this Memorial Day weekend.

We honor the fallen over Memorial Day. The evocative photos that are typically shown are those of Arlington, or the Cemeteries here in Belgium. My Shipmates and I are spending the weekend doing what should be done to honor those who have gone before us and given that last full measure of devotion to their Nation. But, all too often, and far too easily, the next to last measure of devotion isn’t given the proper amount of remembrance–integrity.

My good friend Scott Shipman, shared a recording on facebook from C-SPAN of Col. John Boyd speaking before the House Armed Services Committee in 1991 on the effectiveness of our Armed Forces in that war. His timing is particularly poignant, as it made my sentiments here come to the forefront of my thinking on this Memorial Day Weekend.

You meet them often; those among us who are scrupulous in their integrity. They generally go about their duties without much fanfare; they do not necessarily draw attention to themselves and just accomplish the tasks their Nation has laid out before them. Many of them do not have awards for Valor, they do not have stories from our recent wars in which they accomplished something great. They are our unsung heros who do their duty and hold to a higher degree of integrity that most are capable of.

I’ve known a few such women and men in my career, both officer and enlisted. When I’ve seen them do something that was emblematic of having integrity, I’ve not pointed out to them what they’ve done–there’s no point in that, as they do comport themselves as such for recognition. But, I would watch it all unfold, and smile to myself, and feel proud to wear the cloth of the Nation as they do.

On this memorial day, think of them as well. They may not have given that last full measure, but they do their duty in a way that is just as important and worth honoring.

Posted by CTR1(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III in History

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  • M965466

    Well said.

  • Well, said Lucien. Hope you have a safe and blessed Memorial Day.

  • “The Sons of Martha”

    The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
    But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
    And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
    Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

    It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
    It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
    It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
    Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

    They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
    Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
    Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
    That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

    They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
    He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
    Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
    And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

    To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
    They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
    The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
    And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

    They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
    They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
    As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
    Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

    Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
    Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
    Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
    But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

    And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
    They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
    They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
    They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

    Rudyard Kipling