A message from Mickey Schuch, President of the McHenry County Right To Carry Association:
Memorial Day 2016
Freedom is bought and paid for with blood.
To assume anything else is foolish.
In nature, one creature takes from another to sustain and exist.
The world is not a Disney film, except that we do have villains — lots of them.
I think its in the DNA of Americans to crush the badguy.
Our nation is the single greatest force behind the explosion of the well-loved notion called liberty.
We have spread our wealth of money, food, medicine and manpower around the globe.
More important than all of these things, though, is how we acquired them.
Freedom and liberty created the environment for that to happen.
As a people, we are generous and full of love for our fellow man. That’s not only my opinion, but also evidenced by the artifacts of history.
The problems arise when evil festers in the hearts of men.
Evil and greed breeds men who subjugate others to fulfill their desires and appetites.
Through fear and oppression this evil conquers and eventually snuffs out any trace of what once was true freedom.
This is how nations such as Cuba, Russia, North Korea, Nazi Germany and so many others ever came to be. Fear of evil cripples common men — and they allow it.
Here is where my thoughts on our Day of Remembrance begin.
Have you ever really read the words of our anthem?
When Francis Scott Key penned the poem that became our nation’s anthem, it was while watching his countrymen — our countrymen — being bombarded and killed at the battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
Francis Scott Key was moved to write in the midst of a battle at the sight of old glory still flying through the smoke and flames. That flag was huge — 42 feet long and 30 feet tall.
General George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry, specified “a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.”
Sounds like an American to me.
“We are right here, come get it.”
The red stripes on our flag symbolize hardiness and valor.
Webster’s dictionary defines valor as,
“great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.”
When I see the red, I personally think of blood, not in a morbid or grotesque manner, but rather in a reverent and sacred way.
I think of the blood spilled by over 1.2 million Americans that stood in that gulf between the villain and liberty.
That bloodshed ultimately allows me to sit in my comfortable chair and sip coffee and type this now.
Wow, 1.2 million dead.
That is not a typo.
I think to myself,
“What can I do? How should I live to be worthy of such a gift that I am woefully inadequate of deserving?”
Such a sacrifice, 1.2 million lives traded for millions to live free.
There must be more we can do to honor them.
President Lincoln pondered this in the Gettysburg Address. Here is a quote.
“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”
Notice what I highlighted.
Lincoln did not say from time to time take a moment of silence.
He said be highly resolved.
May 30th will be, to many, a day off work with hot dogs and burgers, a day when stores have sales and people sleep in. That’s all fine. But before you fire up the grill and tip a cold drink, take your family to your local parade and Memorial Day ceremony. Make your kids stand up when the flag passes.
Don’t let them play because they are bored or mess around on a phone.
Teach them why they should pay attention.
Don’t protect them from the sobering meaning of the day. Listen as your local service men tell tales of brothers who did not return.
This must be remembered.
Over the course of 240 years, 1.2 million Americans entered that dark void with the light to their backs.
With evil ahead, they rushed into the breach, trading their lives in defense of yours and mine.
Think on that.
Be highly resolved to live honorably for this is the only repayment we can remit.
That red stripe on our flag means valor; valor is earned through blood.
Have your hot dogs and beers, but know this, you were GIVEN the gift to sit safely in your back yard in the light of day, only, and I mean only, because young boys met evil in the dark on your behalf.
Stop and look at that red stripe.
Think on it.
Allow tears to flow if they come, not only in sorrow but also in gratitude for a gift you cannot repay — except with respect and recognition.
Whisper a thank you.
Whisper it when the flag is flown. Say it in your heart when you enjoy a sunset, a stroll, or a meal with family in this land of the free.
Say it aloud, “Thank you!”
Thank you to the 1.2 million.
We will see you on the other side and tell you with an embrace,
Remember to be aware, implement action when needed and protect life and liberty where you are able.