"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The US Marines lost 1,800 men while building their name for steadfast bravery at the pivotal Battle of Belleau Wood 88 years ago this month.
Artillery blasts in the thick woods shredded the trees until they were bare. Machine-gun fire mowed down the wheat fields and left them smoldering. Dead and wounded bodies lay on the ground…
Belleau Wood, where the trees are now lush and the wheat is tall, is where the Marines turned back the advancing Germans when the French couldn’t, dying by the hundreds, but possibly saving nearby Paris and, ultimately, winning World War I.
Many of us take for granted the astounding courage and self-sacrifice exerted on our behalf on battlefields we read about history books.
Yet today our servicemen's achievements – in many cases, truly noble, performed under dangerous, dirty, and truly unenviable conditions – are time and again willfully disregarded by those who would slander the military to undercut the cause for which it fights.
The bravery, heroism and good works of our soldiers are awe inspiring. Each and every day in Iraq and Afghanistan they risk their lives so that strangers can enjoy a better life. Yes, in every war there are horrors, and this war has been no exception. But Americans are not fighting to gain territory or colonize others. Our troops are at war so that America can be more secure and so that democracy can rise in a part of the world that has only known tyranny…
We should never forget the extraordinary sacrifices of our Marines and soldiers who we send into harms way so that we can sleep peacefully at night. We are a nation deeply in their debt.
And this, from Ben Stein, reflecting on a Memorial Day meeting with widows and families of servicemen lost in the current war:
Why do we -- Jews and Gentiles here in America -- get to do what we do instead of being killed by the Nazis or the Islamic terrorists?
Because of Bonnie Carroll's husband and Bonnie Carroll. Because of Joanne Wrobleski and her hero husband. Because of all of the men and women at Arlington National Cemetery and on ocean floors and blown to bits in forests and muddy trenches. Because God made Eichmann, but he also made Bradley Beard and Dale Denman, Jr.
More are dying as we speak every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How do we ever make it up to them? How can we ever pay them back? Above all, by taking the loved ones they left behind into our arms, into our hearts, and loving them forever. And by making sure that when they die, their deaths are known to have meaning.