May 25, 2020
By Mike Huckabee
I will be back tomorrow with our regular morning and evening newsletters. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy these special messages for Memorial Day. And please join me in saying a prayer for a great military veteran and friend, former Congress member and retired US Army Lt. Col. Allen West. He was returning home by motorcycle Saturday from a rally in Austin, Texas, when a car changed lanes near Waco and cut him off, causing him and another unnamed cyclist to collide. Both were hospitalized. Lt. Col. West is reportedly in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries. I hope you will join me in saying a prayer for both victims’ swift and full recoveries.
With the lockdowns winding down in most states, many Americans are chomping at the bit to get out of the house and go to beaches or parks to celebrate Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer. But let’s not forget that Memorial Day means far more than that. It’s a day set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to provide for us the unprecedented freedom that we so often take for granted as Americans.
No people in the history of the world have experienced the liberties, opportunities or prosperity that we have enjoyed as citizens of the greatest country on God’s green earth — the United States of America. I don’t say that as a biased American, but as one who has traveled the world and who can scour the pages of human history and say definitively that no nation has ever given its inhabitants the degree of freedom, security, and pursuit of happiness as has this extraordinary experiment in government called the United States.
Our Constitution is a simple, yet profound, blueprint for a government in which the ultimate power rests with the people and not with a king, a tyrant dictator, a military general, or even an elected official. The genius of our nation is that the people have been vested with the highest power, and while we temporarily grant it to those we elect, we don’t give it away (even during a pandemic.)
This great system of self-government with its separation and balance of powers and its accountability to its people has been and continues to be protected against both foreign and domestic threats by those who trade their clothes of choice for a uniform and who trade their personal liberties to accept orders from someone who outranks them.
In the process of providing that protection, in wars and other police actions over more than two centuries, more than one million of those in our military have given their lives for those of us who will enjoy this long weekend. No American should take this for granted nor ignore it. It shouldn’t be left to the Gold Star families alone to take a pause for a somber reminder of the price of our benefits of citizenship. We all owe it to them to show respect in some way for those whose deaths gave us our lives.
This is also a very special year in World War II history. May 8 was the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) and August 15 will be the 75th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan.) While most of the commemorative events this month sadly had to be canceled, parents using the Internet to teach kids at home should take this occasion to teach them about VE Day and VJ Day.
For kids who’ve heard derogatory comments about the military, these anniversaries are a golden opportunity to teach them that the rights, freedoms and comforts they enjoy were paid for with the blood of patriots: over a million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. To cite just one war alone, many people today unconscionably water down the meaning of the term “Nazi” by hurling it thoughtlessly at political opponents. This Memorial Day, each your children about the real evil of Nazism, the tens of millions who died because of it, and the 16 million Allied military members – over 405,000 of them Americans – who heroically gave their lives to stop it.
Since many of us will have to observe Memorial Day in our own backyards, here are five tips to improve your backyard grilling.
I’ll add a sixth: Do not allow your grill to be desecrated by anything vegan in the shape of meat.
MEMORIAL DAY'S HISTORY IS IMPORTANT
I hate to say it, but some Americans these days are pretty spoiled. Even after China clotheslined us with this pandemic and cratered the best economy in history, throwing millions of Americans out of work, a large contingent of elitists who don’t have to worry about their next paycheck are taking to Twitter to mock those who need to return to work. They can’t understand why some people are so "selfish" as to want to go back to work when they’re just being asked to sit around watching Netflix and eating delivery food. They don’t seem to comprehend that that’s not what most people outside their bubble of privilege are experiencing.
It’s sometimes said that only the wealthy can afford socialism, and we’ve gotten a great example of that over the past couple of months. The far-left celebrities and politicians are the most likely to want to keep the world locked down forever, living off government checks. Meanwhile, the rest of us have seen enough of our “free sample of socialism” to reject it and its proponents like an arsenic sandwich.
Before the pandemic, I kept hearing that the current young generation wanted socialism because they thought their lives were so hard nobody in history ever had such bleak prospects for the future. They’ve now gotten a glimpse of what real problems are. Maybe they’re learning that socialism is actually a sure-fire formula for creating hard times and bleak prospects and making them even worse.
Let us pray that these current troubles pass quickly, and that they leave behind less damage than we fear and more hard-learned wisdom. That young people who thought their lives were awful will realize that they actually had it better than any generation that’s ever walked the Earth. They’d grown up sheltered from hard realities by helicopter parents, knowing only unprecedented peace, health, prosperity and safety. Even those from families of modest means could take for granted luxuries that kings of previous centuries could only dream of. They had to invent hypothetical threats to live in fear of. Suddenly, that all seems so 2019.
Once this passes, will they still use their iPads and smart phones to go on social media sites while eating Burger King food delivered by Grub Hub and complain that capitalism never did anything for them? Or have they finally gotten just a taste of sacrifice, the kind that pales into insignificance compared to the sacrifices previous generations made for them?
Once a year, on the last Monday in May, we set aside a day to honor our fellow Americans who made the greatest of all sacrifices so that the rest of us could continue to enjoy 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 have died in uniform.
Imagine if all those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen could come back to life for a Memorial Day parade. Picture them marching past in rows of ten, each row taking just 10 seconds to pass. That parade would stretch 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 military casualties America has experienced since 1776. 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.
Today's military members, like those before them, risk their lives to protect the cherished American principles of freedom, liberty, equality, democracy, fighting tyranny and defending the weak. Previous generations 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 22nd was National Poppy Day this year (https://www.legion.org/poppyday). 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…”
This year, there are fewer group activities available where we can gather to show our support for veterans and our gratitude to those who gave their lives to protect our freedom. But we can all proudly fly our American flags. And we can offer support to some of the many great veterans’ support organizations, such as the VFW and the American Legion.
Another great new organization with an especially timely mission is Code Of Vets, founded by Air Force Veteran, Gretchen Smith. She and supporter Charlie Daniels appeared on “Huckabee” on TBN this weekend, to talk about the group’s efforts to provide support to veterans struggling through the pandemic. You can learn more and donate at http://www.codeofvets.com. It’s tax-deductible, and with their 1% operating costs, you can rest easy knowing that 99 cents of every dollar given goes directly to help veterans in need.
And of course, one more thing we can all do from wherever we are is stop for a moment and think of all the rows and rows of crosses in veterans’ cemeteries…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.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY JANET
For me personally, today brings another occasion worth commemorating. May 25th marks 46 years of marriage to my wife Janet, mother of our three children, Ya-ya to our grandchildren, and a pretty amazing woman who has endured virtual poverty with me in our early days, and battled cancer in her spine 45 years ago that doctors predicted would take her life. When she fought and won that battle, she was told the surgery and radiation would render her unable to have children. While she lost one, she gave birth to three. It’s ironic that as I write this, she is again recuperating, this time from surgery to repair a broken ankle caused by tripping over a grandchild’s toy. I have no doubt that she will once again make a full recovery and be up and around sooner than the doctors imagine.
She dropped out of college to work as a dental assistant to help me finish, then went with me on the 46-year journey of a career in broadcasting and advertising, almost twelve years as a pastor, and then the past few decades in the tumultuous and vicious world of politics and government. She has endured some of the vilest and most hate-filled criticism, not just directed at me but at her and even her children. She chose to be a stay-at-home mom when our kids were small, which meant less money but more memories, and when her beloved mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, she walked that road with her mother until the end.
Forty-six years is a long time to put up with me, so for that she’s a saint. And I’m proud to have shared life and love with her. One of her favorite songs is Kenny Rogers’ classic, “Through the Years.” And now that there have been 46 of them, she’s entitled to say she has endured “Through the Years.” Happy Anniversary, Janet—I love you! And I hope we have a lot more.
Bible Verse of the Day (KJV)
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)