And of our fellow man.
In the face of this electoral season's acrimony, it behooves us all as Americans to every now and then declare a truce, step back from the brink and to take stock of this awesome Nation of ours.
Of all of ours.
Be you Raving Liberal or Vast Right-Wing Conspirator, this time is not about you. Or about me.
Each year the soldiers of the Third United States Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") take part in the ceremony called "Flags In." Just before Memorial Day, each grave in Arlington National Cemetery is decorated with a small American flag.
The flags remain in place until the conclusion of the Memorial Day Weekend when they are all removed. It is the only time during the year when American flags are permitted at all gravesites in the Cemetery. The "Flags In" detail took place this year on Thursday, 27 May 2004.
Personally, I believe deeply that we lose something vital to our survival as a Nation when we forget the blood of patriots.
Words, symbols, heated rhetoric and clever argument all pale when measured against the brilliance of the white of marble, the emerald carpet of living grass borne over they who rest beneath, forevermore.
And the fields and fields of flags upon each, bearing quiet witness to the precious, eternal value of that sacrafice.
Dignity, honor, respect and a day of rememberence is all that they ask now of us.
So, this weekend, set aside if only for a day, thoughts of (D) or (R). Rail not against your fellow American, nor wish harm to him, his party or his creed.
Not on this day.
The men and women in those graves are no longer Democrats or Republicans. They are still and eternally though Americans, and are forevermore worthy of this day given but to them.
Honor the Day. Honor Them.
From their dark and silent graves, they give more honor to our Nation than any one politican, party or officeholder dares ever imagine.
Dignified beyond words, with nobility above the highest offices of government, these silent warriors speak loudly of what it is to be American.
They did not die for the Republicans. Nor for the Democrats, Greens or Libertarians.
Whether in combat, or fifty years later surrounded by only the memories of comrades long since passed, the men and women resting forever under those flags once marched proudly under that banner. They have earned nothing less than the unqualified respect of a grateful Nation, and her grateful people.
The last full measure of devotion is an awesome, terrible thing. Yet, magnificent; and it is upon the altar of their sacrafice that we enjoy the freedom of the greatest Nation in the history of the world.
Stand and salute, and remember them.
For our own sakes, and especially for theirs.