Remember Those Who Have Given So Much for Our Freedom!

This Memorial Day, and in the days that follow, please take a moment to thank the men and women who have given so much in the service of their country.

Flag setting at cemetaryI was raised in a Marine Corps family. My father was a career Marine* and my mother was the daughter of a career Marine. Born in a Naval Hospital after WWII, I spent the next 20 years surrounded by Marines and personnel from the other branches of our Armed Forces. I knew how dedicated they, and their families, were to protecting our freedom. They’ve earned our appreciation. It’s up to us to honor their dedication by being responsibleAmerican Flag on Gravestone citizens and protecting the freedoms for which so many have given their lives.

Like many of us, my mother and father were responsible for instilling in me the values under which I try to live. I remember one hot summer day in 29 Palms, California. My father had returned from the Korean War and was assigned as the Commanding Officer of Force Troops for the Marine Base there. It was Saturday, I was eight years old, and Dad was taking me to a movie! Suddenly, a car full of young Marines raced past us, headed into 29 Palms for a good time. Dad followed and pulled them over. Then he proceeded to remind them, in no uncertain terms, that we were guests in this community and had an obligation to obey local laws and treat the community, as well as its citizens, with respect. With the car windows down, I could hear everything! I was glad he wasn’t yelling at me, but I got the message loud and clear!

Years later, when Dad (Colonel Ivey) was the Assistant Base Commander at Camp Lejeune, NC, I was hanging out at the Base Teen Club. A young Corporal and his wife were Teen Club chaperones. The Corporal’s wife approached to tell me about my mother at the base beauty parlor. She and my mother were waiting to get their hair done, when a woman entered, declared she was Major ….’s wife, and ordered a Private’s wife to get out of the chair! My mother stood up and told the Major’s wife to…”sit down and wait your turn like the rest of us!” This made quite an impression on the young Corporal’s wife. It stuck with me too. You see, my mother drove into me, what her mother had driven into her…”dependents have no rank!” The only times I ever saw Mom “pulling rank” was when she was stopping someone else from “pulling rank!” Perhaps there is a bit of irony there, but it was a good lesson about respecting the rights of others and treating people fairly.

Statute of LibertyMy mother and father never confused Freedom with selfishness or greed! They taught me that Freedom comes with responsibilities. I came to understand how important respect and fairness are to “Freedom.” We don’t live in isolation. Most of us chose to live in the community we call home. We have a responsibility to respect our neighbors and other community members. Just as platoon members look out for each other in battle, we have a responsibility to help those around us who need support. We must work together if we are to achieve the American Dream of “…Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” that so many men and women have given their lives to safeguard.

*Note: Colonel T.S. Ivey served in three wars: WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. He served 33 years on active duty and died on the Marine Corps Birthday.

The Power Point below addresses three key “Foundations of Freedom” that are crumbling right before our eyes here in Wisconsin. Remember those who have given so much to protect our freedom. Take a few minutes to review the presentation. If you like it, please feel free to share it with others. If you share it, we would appreciate your referencing web site and the introductory article.

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