Memorial Day: Hold the torch high

May 27, 2019 |

I hate to say it, but many Americans these days are pretty spoiled. I keep hearing that the current young generation wants socialism because they think their lives are so hard and there’s never been anyone in history with such bleak prospects for the future (they don’t understand that socialism is actually a sure-fire formula for hard lives and bleak prospects.)  


In truth, they have it better than any generation that’s ever walked the Earth.  They’ve grown up knowing only unprecedented peace, health, prosperity and safety.  Even those from families of modest means take for granted luxuries that kings of previous centuries could only dream of.  Diseases that used to kill millions of children now strike only those who deliberately refuse to be vaccinated.  They use their iPads and smart phones to go on social media sites and complain about how free market capitalism never did anything for them. They think that sacrifice means spending spring break at a hotel with spotty wi-fi. 

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But once a year, on the last Monday in May, we all set aside a day to honor our fellow Americans who made the greatest of all sacrifices so that the rest of us could continue enjoying the blessings of liberty and security.


Memorial Day was born after the Civil War, when families would take a day to tend and decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers.  It soon spread to the North, and became known as Decoration Day.  Eventually, it became a national holiday to honor all American military veterans who gave up their homes, their families, their very lives  -- everything they had, or ever dreamed of having – all in sacrifice for their country.  And just how many have made that ultimate sacrifice?  Brace yourself: 


From the Revolutionary War to the War of 1812, the Civil War and Spanish American war, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the other wars, police actions and rescue missions since 1776, over one million, three hundred and eight thousand Americans in uniform have laid down their lives for their country. 


Imagine if all those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen could come back to life for a parade in their honor.  Picture them marching past in rows of ten, each row taking just 10 seconds to pass.  That parade of fallen heroes would march on and on, row after row, 360 rows per hour, for hour after hour, 24 hours a day, for over 15 straight days.  That is the enormity of the sacrifice that has been made to preserve our freedom and security.  That doesn’t even include the millions more who sacrificed their limbs, their sight, their peace of mind, and the best years of their lives, all for us.

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These heroes gave their lives to protect such cherished American principles as freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, fighting tyranny and defending the weak.  They guarded these bedrock principles so that they could be passed down to us.  It is now our sacred duty to preserve them for future generations. 


Every year, the American Legion sells poppy pins to support veterans and their families.  May 24th was National Poppy Day. ( ) I hope you bought one and are wearing it proudly.  The poppy became the symbol of Memorial Day, thanks to the famous poem, “In Flanders’ Fields,” by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae.  He wrote it in memory of his friend Alexis Helmer, whom he watched die in battle in World War I. 


The poem starts, “In Flanders’ fields, the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row.”


Today, as we do all the fun activities that mark the beginning of summer, let’s also remember to fly our flags, attend parades, visit veterans’ hospitals and tend the graves of our loved ones.  And let’s all stop to think of all the rows and rows of crosses in veterans’ cemeteries, to say a prayer of thanks to them, and remember that each and every cross represents a genuine American hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. 


McCrae’s poem ends, “To you, from failing hands, we throw the torch.  Be yours, to hold it high.  If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders’ fields.” If you really want to memorialize these greatest of American heroes, then take up the torch they passed to us.  Hold it high. And NEVER let it drop.


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Comments 1-8 of 8

  • David Colonna

    05/28/2019 12:44 PM

    Mike, I cordially invite Sara, your wife, you and your whole family to attend and partake in the largest Veterans parade in the Southeast. The Dacula, GA 26th Annual Memorial Day parade, next year 27th annual Memorial Day parade. We would love for you to do your show live from the parade. You can even stay with my family for free. We have attended the parade every year since living in Georgia and my family cheerish it every year. The parade started a few years back having local family and citizens carrying pictures of all GAs fallen heros, what a touching tribute you have to experience some day. The invitation is open any year so hope to see you visit us one day. Dave

  • Clara Herrin

    05/28/2019 07:46 AM

    My son Mark died this past April 9th, and even though he was an ER doctor instead of a soldier, he was a fighter for the lives of his patients. As a tribute to him, his sister and I visited his grave yesterday in order to decorate it with two flags (one from each of us), some flowers and a couple of pinwheels. Hanging from a near-by tree were several wind chimes. I thought it was such a wonderful idea, I've determined that I will do the same as his grave is right under a young pine tree. He gave everything he had in order to became a doctor and when he passed away those who had had the opportunity to work with him were devastated...and they said so at his special memorial service. He will live in our memories as a giant of a man who cared deeply about those who came under his care. Thank you for providing a space for me to be able to share our feelings about this wonderful person. God Bless all medical personnel. Where would all of us be without the dedication of those individuals who willingly spend so much time learning their trade and then attending to the rest of us for the remainder of their lives?

  • sara

    05/27/2019 09:11 PM

    You hit it right on the nose ...again!!! As usual! * Socialism has been tried, didn't work the first (or 2nd or 3rd...) time. Won't work now!!!
    US School Boards, seriously, should use real history books & interviews, not rewritten by socialists, to concentrate on teaching history!! History IS people. Maybe require history every year thru graduation. Probably be a good idea to start with many of the teachers!!
    Being able to see how the wars fit into what else was going on in different parts of the world is incredible & fascinating!! So much they could learn!!! Agree, we are spoiled!!!

  • Robert McFate

    05/27/2019 02:46 PM

    Well said! On Modern Warriors last night on FOX the vets that were on said not to begrudge people having a good time on Memorial Day but for those having that good time to take a moment to reflect on those who gave all so they are able to have that good time!

  • Mary Patton Aguirre

    05/27/2019 01:47 PM

    Thank you for sharing this post, Gov. Huckabee. Very insightful way to understand the price that has been paid for my freedom. God bless you & your family!

  • Paul F. Corcoran

    05/27/2019 12:36 PM

    You mentioned the origin of Memorial Day
    I remember a Memorial Day that was in the 71st year after the end of the Civil War.My town in New Jersey was having their annual Parade.
    A member of the Grand Army of the Republic was sitting in a Packard Convertible He was 104 years old. I was six years old and was in awe at the sight .
    Today too many of the spoiled generation do not acknowledge what these magnificent warriors di so that they can enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness !

  • Matt

    05/27/2019 12:24 PM

    I like everything you say except about the vaccinations. I am a Chiropractor and nutritionist for 20 years. I have looked into vaccines and many other “medical treatments” and the people still getting these diseases and health issues have received the vaccines, not the unvaccinated. Please do the research instead of just believing what our drug companies want us to believe.

  • David E Ozanne

    05/27/2019 10:20 AM

    I must protest your remark that states, "Diseases that used to kill millions of children now strike only those who deliberately refuse to be vaccinated.1". If you check you will find that some of those stricken have been vaccinated including the measles outbreak.