This Memorial Day, I remembered my dad, who was an infantry soldier in the United States Army. I also remembered my son-in-law’s mother, Marlice Lubbers, who not only served her country as a WAC, but also died on Memorial Day 2002.
My dad gave 27 years of his life to military service. He served in World War II, in
And because my Dad was a career soldier, we moved around a lot. I was born in
It wasn’t easy. But my Dad served his country because he believed in it. He served his country because he thought it really mattered. He thought a world in which the Nazis dominated or the Soviets dominated would be a horrible world. A world in which
Like so many Americans, my father knew that freedom was not free. More than 40 years ago he took me on a tour of the World War I battlefield at Verdun in France where more than a quarter of a million men died and more than half a million were wounded. And suddenly, as a young man of 15, I realized that without eternal vigilance, without leadership, without courage, and without the willingness to face the facts and find solutions nations can quickly spiral downwards and suffer catastrophic losses and collapse.
This past weekend, young men and women risked their lives around the world while the rest us of had a vacation from our jobs. The mainstream media is quick to tell us the bad news about their service, but there is plenty of good news as well.
In my daily radio commentaries, “Winning the Future with Newt Gingrich” (for a list of stations click here) I often try to tell the stories of our servicemen and women that the mainstream media won’t tell—the stories of honor and heroism that, much more than the constant barrage of negativity and bloodshed, capture the character of our armed forces.
One of these stories is that of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith.
Just five days before the fall of
With his men pinned down, Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop a damaged armored vehicle. He single-handedly mounted a counter attack that killed as many as 50 elite Iraqi troops and allowed his men to scramble to safety. By his actions, Smith saved more than 100 American lives. Tragically, Paul Ray Smith was killed in the firefight.
In a letter he wrote to his parents but never mailed, Paul said that he was prepared to “give all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home.” For making good on his promise, Paul was posthumously awarded the first Medal of Honor of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Paul Ray Smith is just one of the many heroes who sacrificed their lives to keep us safe. As President Bush said on Memorial Day in 2002, standing before the American cemetery at
Let us keep them in our prayers every day.
P.S. The Amnesty Bill passed by the Senate last week is hopeless. The core problem with granting massive amnesty—and make no mistake, that is what it is—to millions is that it cheapens American law. While the bill’s supporters claim to be compassionate toward those here illegally, the prevailing message is loud and clear—American law can be willfully violated without consequence. A tragic irony: The single most important factor to American success, the foundational principle that has attracted millions of freedom seekers to our shores—our rule of law—is the very thing that the Senate wants to sacrifice in the name of compassion. This is not compassion: It is condescension and contempt.
A just and orderly society depends upon laws that are respected. If you have any doubt about that, ask any first-generation immigrant you might know how well respected the laws are in the country they came from. Chances are it was a major factor in why they left.
The failure to enforce our current immigration laws and stop illegal immigration has brought us to where we are now. American businesses routinely ignore the law by hiring workers illegally, and several American cities and two