The men and women who were honored Monday at the city’s annual Memorial Day observance are people who knew the truth. They had been in harm’s way. Those who fought to save the rest of us gave their final breaths, whether in battle or in the comfort of old age, knowing they had done the right thing — the right thing for their families, the right thing for their country.
The city in which we live, the land in which we live, are better places because of Madera’s veterans, who did the job they had to do. Not only did they do the right thing by taking up arms, but those who returned from the service gave us the gift of leadership and truth which they had learned through hard lessons.
What can be said about them, other than to honor their greatness?
Perhaps we can borrow the words of some other great military figures:
“A gallon of sweat saves a pint of blood.” — Gen. George S. Patton
“Do your damndest in an ostentatious manner all the time.” — Gen. George S. Patton
“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” — Gen. Norman S. Swartzkopf
“All you have to do is hold your first soldier who is dying in your arms, and have that terribly futile feeling that I can’t do anything about it... Then you understand the horror of war.” — Gen. Norman S. Swartzkopf
“Wars can be prevented just as surely as they can be provoked, and we who fail to prevent them, must share the guilt for the dead.” — Gen. Omar N. Bradley
“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” — Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” — Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
“The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation than its wealth. The Bible is endorsed by the ages. Our civilization is built upon its words. In no other book is there such a collection of inspired wisdom, reality, and hope.” — Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
“The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade (at a liberated Nazi death camp). More than 3,200 naked, emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. ... Eisenhower’s face whitened into a mask. Patton walked over to a corner and sickened. I was too revolted to speak. For here death had been so fouled by degradation that it both stunned and numbed us.” — Gen. Omar N. Bradley
“America today is running on the momentum of a godly ancestry, and when that momentum runs down, God help America.” — Gen. Omar N. Bradley