BENNETT: Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Jack Bennett, Rick Reeseman, and Lynda Pozzuto put up flags along Market Street in Kittanning. A donation by the Kittanning Mens Club made possible the purchase of replacement flags this year.

by Jack Bennett

During Monday morning’s Memorial Day Parade, I expect to be either towing afloat in the parade or marching carrying a service flag. I thought I would share some of my thoughts on Memorial Day today.

Memorial Day first came about by General Order Number 11, Washington, D. C.  Dated May 5, that Order reads as follows: “The 30th day of May 1868 is designated for the purpose of placing flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village or hamlet in the land.”

No set activities were scheduled but several were suggested, one of which was the placing of flags on the graves in remembrance.  Many communities continue this practice today through the County Veterans Office and many local veterans and civic organizations.

This remembrance is to honor our service members who gave the supreme sacrifice.

These soldiers came from all walks of life, but they shared several fundamental qualities. They possessed courage, pride, determination, and dedication to destiny.

While visiting Bluffton, South Carolina a few years ago, I heard Colonel William Pagressai, G-3 for Recruit Training , Paris Island, speak at Vietnam veterans rally. He talked of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Vietnam War and how the same basic militates of that war are being repeated over again in Afghanistan today.

Are you aware that soldiers are persecuted for expressing religious beliefs?  Are you aware that the Navy has fewer personnel and ships on duty today that prior to WWII? Are you aware that some troops are returned to the war zone as much as 14 times? Are you aware the suicide rate of veterans is nearly double the civilian population? Are you aware that an instructor was relieved of his duties at West Point because of complaints from Islamic protestors? Are you aware that some priority units are trying to function at 50% strength? Are you aware that some posts (like Ft. Lee, VA) are so short on military personnel that the guard duties normally staffed with unit personnel are now manned with civilian contractors?

The First and Second Amendments to the Constitution are under constant attack.

Our country has received a temporary reprieve from the attacks of the Left but we must do something to protect all of our rights.  As Ronald Reason put it, “Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.”

Let us never forget the sacrifices that have been made by those who have gone before us. Always remember to “welcome home” all service men and women who are doing their tour of duty.