‘Monimentum dies Memorandum’ – In Memory of Memorial Day
My first encounter with America was in my native England, during the immediate years following the end of WWII. Not ten miles from where my sister and I were born, Burtonwood Air Force Base, also known as USAAF Station 590, was temporary home to some 20,000 American airmen and other members of the US Military, shipped over to provide air support and other logistics, for the D-Day Normandy landings.
The forever monimentum dies memorandum of those wonderful men, who would cruise our war-torn neighborhoods in their open-top jeeps, dispensing candy, chewing gum, chocolates, bananas, oranges, and other goodies, so sparse to us at the time, was so seared into my young mind, that I developed a dogged persistence to the seed of “one day, I’m going to live in America, and be like these airplane pilots.”
To get an impression of what I’m describing, the movie Yanks has it all. It was filmed in, and around the area in 1979, starring Richard Gere, Vanessa Redgrave, William Devane and others, and is as clear an image of those immediate post-war years, as anything you could imagine, and is well worth the viewing (see the “Hollywood Endings” clip at the bottom).
Hard to believe, that a young boy, barely five or six years old at the time, would be so bowled over by the kindness and largesse of American Military men, that he would be emboldened enough to want to model himself after them.
He did however, wake up in absolute sheer delight on Christmas morning 1949, to find a shiny red two-seater jeep under the Christmas tree. It was also emblazoned with the United States Air Force winged star on the bonnet (hood), and boy and sister spent many a wonderful day, pedal-driving that jeep proudly up and down the street where they lived.
The dream memory became a reality in the Fall of 1981, when I finally made it as a resident of the United States, via a career-circuitous route that took in professional soccer, engineering college, teaching, retailing, business management, marriage (twice), and three wonderful sons. Sojourns in Jamaica, Canada, and elsewhere, were steps on the way, but the ultimate goal was achieved.
Arriving as I did, during the presidency of Ronald Wilson Reagan, didn’t hurt. In him, from him, and through watching what he was able to accomplish for America, I sensed the same attitude of freedom-loving patriotism, that I had witnessed from the memory of those Burtonwood airmen many years before.
In the forty years since (WOW, hard to believe!) I have become as Americanized as those mid-18th Century Brits, who forged a new nation by wrenching power away from a tyrannical Royal. I have experienced America at its finest, and dare I say, I have also now witnessed it at its worst.
The blatant power-grabs recently nurtured by the DemoMarxocrat Governing political hacks in their never-ending lust for power, would have been hard to imagine 40 years ago, especially with the Reagan years becoming so gloriously successful following yet another Democrat fail known as the Carter debacle.
Somehow, someway, in the reparation of America’s future, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and President Reagan had the ability to somehow always put America first in their deliberations, and not just for the few – but for every American.
Thank God memories fade faster than a Democrat Governor can lie. As President Reagan put it as he departed the White House for the last time:
We’ve done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for 8 years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all. And so, goodbye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Some 200 years prior, in his own farewell address to the nation, September 19th of 1796, George Washington declared:
“Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.”
Now I’m no great orator, or newstalk guru, television show host, nor celebrity dancer, but I am now, and have been for the past 40 years, as American as apple pie. Whenever I see my country crying out for someone to please help, my mind goes immediately to the Old Testament prophet Isaiah who, upon finding himself in the throne room of heaven, was asked the question of God: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
Isaiah, like America today, found himself on the cusp of God’s grace, but felt bold enough to answer the call. That little boy of 1949, scooting around the back streets of Wigan, in his shiny red USA Air Force jeep, emblazoned with the US Air Force winged star on the bonnet, would expect no less of the man he has become.
Memorial Day – Monimentum dies Memorandum – is a ‘Remember the Day’ for a reason. But GOD!
Copyright (c) 2010 Dennis G Hurst /America on the Cusp of God’s Grace