Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

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Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

Remember the vets

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2019

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two, or three) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel. A couple of my favorites are the VFW and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

On this Veterans Day, as always, I remember my late father, Col. Samuel R. Combs. The obituary by Robert Denerstein published in the Rocky Mountain News on August 28, 2006 (copyright Rocky Mountain News 2006) follows. I especially appreciated Denerstein’s line at the end of the second paragraph, highlighted.

Samuel Raymond Combs stopped celebrating his birthday in 2001. It wasn’t that Combs, 85 at the time, fretted about his advancing age. No, scrapping birthday plans had more to do with the fact that the 27-year military man was born Sept. 11, 1916. For the deeply patriotic Col. Combs, celebrating on Sept. 11 became impossible after the events of 9/1 1/01.

Col. Combs, who died Aug. 16 at age 89 in Knoxville, Tenn., as the result of complications from a fall, neatly fits the profile of what has become known as “the Greatest Generation.” He answered his country’s call even before the phone rang, volunteering for the Army after Pearl Harbor.

Born in Joplin, Mo., and raised in Colorado after his father relocated to Glenwood Springs, Col. Combs attended Glenwood Springs High School and graduated from Colorado State University.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps. A few days after DDay, he landed at Omaha Beach, serving with the Seventh Army, 26th Infantry Division. Col. Combs later was part of the postwar administration in Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany, and in Vienna, Austria.

Col. Combs also fought in the Korean War, but like many of his generation, he wasn’t big on war stories.

“He didn’t talk much about it,” said his son, Richard Combs, of Denver. “He talked a little more about going to CSU and playing football.”

Despite his father’s reticence, Combs noted his father’s military accomplishments included the Legion of Merit, Military Order of Scabbard and Blade, Defense Department Commendation Medals and four Battle Stars.

“My dad was a complex person,” said Combs. “The relationship he had with us kids was pretty rocky for a long time. But I’m glad of the fact that we became friends and were able to express our love for each other.”

Combs knows his father’s strengths were of a kind that turned men like him into the country’s backbone.
“He didn’t talk about how he reacted when Pearl Harbor occurred,” Richard said.

“But I know he expressed a number of times that he really loved the Army: the discipline, the structure and the camaraderie. By the end of World War II, he probably decided to make it his career.

“He had some great strengths, and I guess that’s what we talk about when we talk about the ‘Greatest Generation.’ They came out of the Depression and into the Nazi threat. We owe those guys a lot. They really sucked it up when they had to suck it up.”

Col. Combs’ daughter Linda Palmer of Alcoa, Tenn., concurred. “He was very brave,” Palmer said. “He was so devoted to his country.”

If old soldiers are supposed to fade away, Col. Combs didn’t quite follow the plan.
“A week before he died, he was out driving his car,” Palmer said. “He was determined to live life his way to the very end.”

Col. Combs married several times and settled in Knoxville in 1968 after his retirement from the military. His former wife Margo, the mother of his children, died in 1973. Another former wife, Mary, died in 2004.

“He had the virtues of the others of his generation,” Richard Combs said. “He had a great capacity to love others and especially to love his country. He had a great sense of honor and duty, and he took pride in his military career.”

Services for Col. Combs were held Aug. 19 in Knoxville; burial followed on Aug. 20.
Col. Combs is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of Knoxville; a son, Richard Combs, of Denver; daughters Margo Walsh, of Punta Gorda, Fla., and Linda Palmer, of Alcoa, Tenn.; three grandchildren; and three greatgrandchildren.

 

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Saluting our veterans

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2017

My DSL service has been out, so I’m just quickly reposting this from last year.

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

 

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A salute to our veterans

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2016

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

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A salute to our veterans

Posted by Richard on November 10, 2015

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Well worth a visit.

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A Veterans Day salute

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2014

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Worth a visit.

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Veterans Day salute

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2011

Salute

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel. Such as Project Valour-IT to help severely wounded soldiers.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Worth a visit.

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 30, 2011

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." I'm remembering my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs — who, in the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, "answered his country's call even before the phone rang." I miss you, Papa. 

If you have friends or relatives — or maybe an elderly neighbor down the street — who are veterans, thank them now. Don't wait until they have a marker over their head. 

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Support Project Valour-IT

Posted by Richard on November 12, 2010

UPDATE (11/12): The competition is over, and we surpassed the $60,000 goal by more than 50% — final tally: $92,542! Thanks to all the donors, and congratulations to the Marine Corps team, which finished well ahead of second-place Army. But we'll get 'em next year! 

*** Last day of competition. Veterans Day. Please thank a vet and give today. ***

As in years past, I'm supporting Project Valour-IT again this year. And again this year, I'm late to the party.

Project Valour-IT (Voice Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops) is a project of the wonderful Soldiers' Angels Foundation. The money raised provides voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines with severe injuries — typically hand and arm injuries or amputations.

The annual fundraising event is a friendly competition among teams of bloggers representing the service branches to see who can raise the most money for this wonderful cause. I join the Army team each year, in honor of my late father, Col. Samuel R. Combs, United States Army Signal Corps, who passed away August 16, 2006, at the age of 89, and who the Rocky Mountain News described as epitomizing the Greatest Generation. ("He answered his country's call even before the phone rang" is a phrase I shall always treasure. Thank you again, Bob Denerstein.)

Donations of any size are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. Please do me the honor of donating through my humble blog by clicking the button below. I've kicked in a C-note, as usual. Give what you can — it's dead simple, whether you use a credit card or PayPal (or one of the other options offered) — and even five or ten or twenty bucks helps a lot. Thanks for your support!

Contribute to Project Valour-IT

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Veterans Day salute

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2010

 soldier saluting flag

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.
 


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
 

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel. Such as Project Valour-IT to help severely wounded soldiers. Please click here and help me help the Army team in this friendly inter-service rivalry for a good cause.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Worth a visit.

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Rules of (mis)engagement

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2010

A short time ago, the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan passed 1000, and the Brits just lost their 300th. Today was an especially deadly day for coalition troops, and this month is turning into one of the deadliest of the war. This is not unexpected. When the surge began, everyone predicted a rise in casualties. More troops engaging in more operations equals more casualties. 

But that alone may not be the full explanation. On Sunday, George Will reported on a troubling email from a non-commissioned officer in Afghanistan. The NCO cited several examples from his own battlefield experiences illustrating that the rules of engagement under which troops are operating are, in his words, "too prohibitive for coalition forces to achieve sustained tactical successes." Here's one of them: 

Receiving mortar fire during an overnight mission, his unit called for a 155mm howitzer illumination round to be fired to reveal the enemy's location. The request was rejected "on the grounds that it may cause collateral damage." The NCO says that the only thing that comes down from an illumination round is a canister, and the likelihood of it hitting someone or something was akin to that of being struck by lightning. 

The others are no less nonsensical and dangerous to the troops. In a counter-insurgency operation, it's both morally and practically important to minimize unnecessary civilian casualties. But there's such a thing as being stupid about it. When a group of villagers is, as in another of the NCO's examples, openly cheering for the enemy and harboring insurgents in their homes, being solicitous of their feelings is unlikely to win their hearts and minds — only to win their greater contempt. 

Right or left, hawk or dove, surely we can all agree that it's wrong to send soldiers to fight under rules that make it impossible for them to succeed and that greatly increase their chances of dying.

(HT: Vodkapundit)

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 31, 2010

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." I'm remembering my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs — who, in the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, "answered his country's call even before the phone rang." I miss you, Papa. 

If you have friends or relatives — or maybe an elderly neighbor down the street — who are veterans, thank them now. Don't wait until they have a marker over their head. 

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Veterans Day salute

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2009

 soldier saluting flag

To those who have served, and to those who serve today:

Thank you.
 


It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
 

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army

Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005

http://www.pattonhq.com/koreamemorial.html

Thanks, Papa, for your many years of service. I love you and miss you.

On this Veterans Day, please make a contribution to an organization (or two or three!) that supports veterans or active-duty military personnel. Such as Project Valour-IT to help severely wounded soldiers. Please click the donation thermometer on the left below the calendar and help me help the Army team in this friendly inter-service rivalry for a good cause.

The Signaleer has a nice history of Remembrance Day, which begat Armistice Day, which begat Veterans Day, and he includes the classic World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Worth a visit.

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Support Project Valour-IT

Posted by Richard on November 6, 2009

I've been meaning to sign up for this year's Project Valour-IT fundraiser all week, but haven't gotten around to it. Today, in the wake of the murderous attack at Ft. Hood, I've made time.

Project Valour-IT (Voice Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops) is a project of the wonderful Soldiers' Angels Foundation. The money raised provides voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines with severe injuries — typically hand and arm injuries or amputations.

The annual fundraising event is a friendly competition among teams of bloggers representing the service branches to see who can raise the most money for this wonderful cause. I join the Army team each year, in honor of my late father, Col. Samuel R. Combs, United States Army Signal Corps, who passed away August 16, 2006, at the age of 89, and who the Rocky Mountain News described as epitomizing the Greatest Generation. ("He answered his country's call even before the phone rang" is a phrase I shall always treasure. Thank you again, Bob Denerstein.)

But this year, I'm also doing it for the killed and wounded at Ft. Hood and their families. Some of the survivors may need those laptops and other devices that Project Valour-IT provides. 

Donations of any size are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. Please do me the honor of donating through my humble blog by clicking the button below (or in the left sidebar). I've kicked in a C-note, as usual. Give what you can — it's dead simple, whether you use a credit card, PayPal, or electronic check — and even five or ten or twenty bucks helps a lot. Thanks for your support!

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Happy 234th birthday, Army!

Posted by Richard on June 15, 2009

A belated Happy Birthday to the United States Army, the oldest of the uniformed services, which was born on June 14, 1775.

U.S. Army 234th birthday coin

As the coin indicates, the Secretary of the Army has designated 2009 as The Year of the NCO. As the son of an officer, I can attest to the fact that NCOs are what makes the Army work. I'm sure my dad would have agreed. 

The occasion merits an inspirational story about a soldier. If this one (HT: Mrs. Greyhawk) doesn't move you, you're not human: 

Even when half your skull is missing, life goes on.
 
For ex-soldier Erik Castillo, gravely wounded by mortar fire in Iraq in 2004, life is going better than expected.
 
Five years have passed since he woke up drooling and paralyzed in an Army hospital with a coconut-sized hole in his cranium — an injury from which doctors said he would never fully recover.
 
The road back to some sort of normalcy has been rife with pain and indignity. He's been stared at by strangers, coped with countless surgeries and infections, and battled rage, self-pity and depression.
 
Through it all, he kept hoping he could reach a point where life seemed worth living again.
 
Finally, he has.
 
"I'm happy with who I am now," said Castillo, 25, a 2001 graduate of Rio Rico High School who now lives in Tucson.
Today, Castillo can walk unassisted — a feat that took more than three years to achieve. He owns a house and plans to go to college next year after more surgery later this year to repair his right eye socket and realign a droopy eye.
 
"I'm making the best of my life," he said. "No matter what, I'm not going to sit around and complain about my suffering."
 
Doctors say his progress represents a triumph of determination over despair, something that isn't unusual among wounded veterans — even those as severely injured as Castillo.
Damn, we've got some amazing young people in this country. Read the whole thing

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 25, 2009

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." And thank the veterans who are still with us.

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