June 1, 2021
How often do those in the reading audience give thanks for being an American? How many give thanks for having been born and raised in America? How often do we give thanks for our lifestyle – cars, TVs, restaurants, vacations, home(s), cellphones, etc? And how often do people around the world give thanks for their present-day lifestyle?
But, who should we and those around the world give thanks to? For some, the answer might be the bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers, etc. For others, it might be doctors or engineers or scientists. For me, thanks would be directed to those who have served or are presently serving in the defense of our great nation. I feel a pang of guilt every year when Memorial Day rolls around. I am 87 years old and never served America. Although I have been told that I am not in the “Jane Fonda” mold, this haunting memory shall not leave me, nor should it.
This is the 21st Memorial Day of this century. It provides us with another opportunity to reevaluate the meaning of this special day. It is a day we primarily pay tribute to those who have died in battle for our country. We also pay tribute to those veterans who have served our nation.
It is a day of reflection, and on this day of reflecting I am reminded of an old saying: “to live in the memory of a loved one, is to live forever.” It is appropriate that we pay homage to these men and women who have provided us with our present-day quality of life.
Twenty years ago, I attended Memorial Day festivities on our Village Green. I was treated to a touching and compassionate speech by Tony Cassella (former Mayor of the Village of East Williston). The speech was written by his son Paul. Tony graciously provided a copy of the speech to me. I would like to pass along (with permission) part of that speech.
“To me, Memorial Day, like Thanksgiving Day, is that day when we pause in our busy lives and think about all of the people who sacrificed so much so that we may enjoy our freedom in this wonderful country. When I think of Memorial Day what first comes to mind are the dramatic opening lines of Thomas Payne’s Pamphlet written during the Revolutionary War wherein he stated “These are the times that drive men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crises, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Those words were so powerful that our first President, George Washington, before crossing the Delaware to attack the sleeping Hessians on Christmas Day, read Payne’s pamphlet to all of his troops. Little did Thomas Payne know that from that time on to this very day the citizens of this country would never be summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. Throughout world wars and the many conflicts and police actions over the last years, our citizens have met their call to duty. It is because of their actions that today we honor those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice and who have been injured in conquering tyranny. The actions assure that we today would enjoy the wonderful life that we have in these great United States, here in East Williston, and in villages like ours across the country.”
I also want to leave you with my thoughts for those who came before me and made the ultimate sacrifice:
- They fought for and defended our way of life over these past 2 ½ centuries.
- There were over 1,000,000 service members who didn’t make it back – American Revolution (4,500), WWI (110,000), WWII (400,000), Korean War (35,000), Vietnam War (60,000), etc.
- My gratitude is forever.
- I will never forget.
- Let us remember what they died for.
- Their sacrifice guarded and continues to insure our freedom.
For me, forgetting and not honoring our fallen heroes of the past provides strength to our enemies of today. Let us all help erase this advantage on this special day. It would be great if the Village Mall were jammed packed for this coming Memorial Day celebration. It is up to each and every one of us to help make this happen. It will serve as a reminder to all of the sacrifices made by the men and women who served our great country in the past and those who are serving today.
Have a great Memorial Day. Enjoy it as grateful and thankful Americans and let us never forget its significance.
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JULY 1: On Great Eats VI
AUGUST 1: On Technical Writing
SEPTEMBER 1: Zzzabuu V
Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.
- Practice various strategies when boxing out at the foul line.
- Practice various defenses when opponents are inbounding the ball from various locations on the court near the end of the game.
- Try to maneuver opponent near a corner in the back court if pressing.