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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