We ride past the monument bearing their names almost every day but we seldom notice it. It is just part of the landscape on the courthouse lawn.
They are the monument men – an all-male roster thus far, thank God. I’m hoping no new names are added to the monument but that of a female would be exceptionally difficult.
The monument is to the men who have given their lives in combat. I visited it Friday as the first name from the euphemistically titled Global War on Terrorism was added.
Davy N. Weaver was an Army master sergeant. His Humvee hit an IED in Afghanistan. He died, plunging the men in his unit and his extensive family back home into deep grief.
I was there when his mother first laid eyes on his coffin as it was unloaded from a jet at Warner Robins AFB. I sat through his funeral in a packed country church. I watched as he was laid to rest with full military honors.
It was a sad time. That sadness was rekindled as I stood with his family once again to watch his name etched into the marble.
This monument is in Barnesville but similar ones mark town and courthouse squares throughout this great nation. They list the names of those who died in hellholes worldwide to protect our status as the world’s foremost nation – its lone superpower.
I wondered as I watched the etching if we can still claim that title. Certainly, the USA is no longer an economic powerhouse. We import more goods than we manufacture – a sure recipe for our downfall.
Our much-ballyhooed ‘stimulus’ plan raises taxes on small businesses considerably. Most of those Americans still employed work for such businesses and increased taxes imperil those jobs.
Such taxes make the assumption that government provides a mechanism or system that allows businesses to thrive. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Government is the small businessman’s worst enemy. Big businessmen are not crazy about it either.
Another $900 million in stimulus funds go to rebuild the Gaza Strip where we were not even involved in the fighting. In fact, the stimulus package doubles foreign aid when we can’t cover our own bills here at home.
There is just something I cannot fathom about selling bonds to the Chinese, a highly productive population, to raise money to increase entitlement payments to the least productive sector of our own population.
Those same Chinese killed some of the men whose names mark our memorial in the Korean War section. Now they are a strong ally and we would be deep into the manure without them.
I thought about all this as I watched the stone artisan do his work.
I wondered if the dead would be as willing to march off in service to what’s left of the country they knew as they were when they committed to their own personal death marches.
I concluded that most probably would.
I wonder if I will be able to make that same judgement 10 or even five years from now.
Will what we have left be worth fighting for?
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The allusion to the NCAA tournament gets the adrenaline flowing to be sure. Without question, it's a very exciting time of year. Having been a basketball player and coach for most my life, I can honestly say the “win or go home” mentality sure adds to the drama of the season.
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I’ve gotten the e-mail several times over the past few weeks. I’m sure you have, too.
It bears a photo of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and attributes to her the following quote, “The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”
I did not go to snopes.com to verify whether or not Mrs. Thatcher actually uttered those words. In fact, I’m not real sure who Mr. Snopes is or who died and left him in charge of online information verification.
If Mrs. Thatcher did not actually make the statement, she should have for it is an absolute truth.
The e-mail arrived as the so-called stimulus bill was being debated and subsequently signed into law by President Barack Obama. The bill is a combination of tax cuts (one third) and spending initiatives (two thirds) totaling some $787 billion designed to jump start the economy.
It purports to put money back into the pockets of consumers and businesses and create millions of jobs - most of them on public works projects to rehab the nation’s sagging infrastructure. There is also a component that directs millions to making the USA more energy efficient.
The fund also adds some $20 billion in funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is what used to be called food stamps before it underwent a socialist extreme makeover. Now, instead of food stamp fraud and welfare queens, we can have SNAP beans.
Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsap says the money will help feed families and boost the economy. Critics say it rewards the least productive members of society at the expense of the most productive.
Certainly, we need to create our own energy and kiss the mideast oil barons goodbye. We should harness the power of clean coal, wind, solar and even methane in this battle. That will help.
We also need to rebuild infrastructure. No one wants to see another bridge loaded with rush hour traffic fall into a river.
But, all these jobs are temporary. What happens when the government runs out of other people’s money?
When it got back to work this week, Congress started debating another $410 billion in spending just to keep government functioning.
Those of us who work to pay for all this are, quite frankly, tired of carrying the chronic layabouts who refuse to work for even a minute but demand equal compensation through government handouts.
Which brings to mind another quote.
“The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”
Those words were delivered by the Roman philosopher Cicero in 55 BC. Cicero was a firsthand witness to the decline and fall of the Roman Republic.
It is a shame he is not around to advise President Obama during our own great national decline.
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Almost everyone has heard the expression “due process rights” but many never consider what it really means. It is easy to have preconceived ideas about the guilt of accused persons because victims of crime have already been denied their rights.
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