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Two Memorial Day Speeches

I was just informed by a friend that the Bill Bennett Show read my Memorial Day Speech from 2004.  I gave my talk at the Ashland Cemetery.  He said it was good.  I thank him for his kindness.  But since he mentioned good speeches, let me bring this 1884 memorial Day Speech by Oliver Wendell Holmes to your attention.  He gave it in Keene, NH, in a white painted town hall on the village common.
Categories > Military

Discussions - 5 Comments

Peter, when I was looking for information about today's ceremonies in Ashland I could find nothing current, but your Memorial Day speech is everywhere online. It is a good speech, worth repeating.

The local VFW gave me information and it was interesting to see how Ashland celebrates its veterans. It is much like my own small town's ceremony and maybe just like those of towns all over the country. The speaker didn't know how to pronounce "Corpsman" nor that a Corpsman is a sailor, nor much about the military at all, except that he knew to be grateful, which is the main thing. We can forgive his slips and expect that he was gently corrected at the VFW luncheon after the ceremony. He quoted much from this Oliver North speech, telling the story, his own civilian way:

The best Memorial Day speeches seem to remind the rest of us, those who were not ever even close to a battlefield and for whom the whiff of the celebratory cannon smoke on the day are close as we will ever get, that we haven't really got a clue. We remember to be grateful because we do not have to have a clue about war. Is it wrong to feel both appreciation and relief on the day?

Please thank your son for his service. My two in service, Navy and Marines, are expecting to deploy this year. I should say, they are looking forward to it. Not me. Yes, of course I am proud of them, but the thought still sickens, especially after watching those families in the reserved seating at the Ashland Cemetery military memorial. May they all come home: all.

PWS, you are a fine patriot, sir. During this day in which Americans enjoy time with family and friends, eating good food, watching kids swimming, drinking beer, traveling, etc., we remember the soldiers who gave their last full measure of devotion that we have the liberty and opportunity to enjoy such a day of leisure.

Have I told you I am teaching again next year after five years of writing books? Local diocesan Catholic school teaching AP Euro, US Hist, & Govt. Wish me luck.

Hi Kate! Thanks for passing along the link. I think I have seen this title in my LF catalog and it looks interesting. It's an older book by a few centuries but may contain interesting insights. Some of the best critiques of the French Revolution in my mind come from the pen of Francois Furet and there was a book on the legacy of the French Revolution with some comparisons to the American Revolution by some Ashbrook and Claremont folk in a Roman Littlefield book called The Legacy of the French Revolution, which I have been meaning to read. Always on the lookout for new books ~ cheers!

I thought it related to our previous discussion, but I found it because JQA was the translator. I am a bit obsessed with him. Ah, I have found a free version online just now and note in the translator's preface: "It is for two reasons highly interesting to Americans: First, because it contains the clearest account of the rise and progress of the revolution which established their independence, that has ever appeared within so small a compass; and secondly, because it rescues that revolution from the disgraceful imputation of having proceeded from the same principles as that of France. This error has no where been more frequently repeated, no where of more pernicious tendency than in America itself. It has been, here not simply a common-place argument, as Mr. Gentz represents it to have been in Europe, but has been sanctioned by the authority of men, revered for their talents, and who at least ought to have known better."

I have my ideas about who those "men, revered for their talents" who ought to know better might be. Who do you think he meant?

It is only 50 pages long in the pdf version I found.

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