I'm listening to Hugh Hewitt
on replay, Speaker Dennis Hastert's comments at the placing of Ronald Reagan's body to lie in state in the Capitol. He invoked Reagan's question at Point du Hoc, "Who were these men?" That means more to me now at 56 than it could have when I was 20 years old. I didn't know, as they probably couldn't, what life had ahead for me. I wouldn't have known as they probably didn't what they were offering up as they charged the German guns on the beaches of Normandy. I think that at that age, I was bobbing along like a twig in a river, not really knowing what was ahead or how to do anything about it. There were many others who, like George Bailey, knew what they wanted to do "tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that."
The fact that they put all that on the line is difficult to grasp. We can speculate what would have happened if they hadn't, but no one really knows. All we know is that their actions thwarted the ambitions of a madman and drove them back into the heart of darkness that spawned them. Because of them, we now live our small humdrum lives, just as their lives were made possible by those who fought the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. The only time that this faith, the faith that one's sacrifice would mean freedom and a hopeful future for others, was Vietnam.
Vietnam left many of us disillusioned, wondering if we had blundered, if we were on the wrong side this time. Events since then have told us that we were not, and stirred a resolve to return to the fight for freedom and consentual government for people with whom the only thing we have in common is our being human.
Many, especially in the chattering class, have clung to the opposite view. They preach disarmament and withdrawal from power, an ingrown kind of patriotism that would surely disgust those who made such great sacrifices in the past. I hope we never give in to that shriveled attitude. It would be a dishonor to the memory of men who stood up to evil and defeated it.
There were people who sneered at Reagan because he didn't enter the military during WWII, as they sneer now at Dick Cheney and George Bush. But one must recognize that Reagan's contribution came later and few others could have filled that role. I expect that we will come to a time when we recognize the same about Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and the rest. Semper fi!