TODAY, ALL ACROSS OUR NATION, MEN AND WOMAN WILL STEP UP TO PODIUMS LIKE THIS AND TRY TO DELIVER TO THOSE ASSEMBLED BEFORE THEM, WORDS THAT ADEQUATELY EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE TO AND UNDERSTANDING OF THOSE WHO HAVE DIED IN THE NAME OF OUR NATION. AND ALL OF US WILL FAIL, NO MATTER HOW WELL INTENDED, HOW HEARTFELT OUR WORDS AND FEELINGS, FOR THE WORDS OF ONE HUMAN BEING CAN NEVER EXPRESS WHAT THOSE WHO SACRIFICED HAVE DONE. BUT COLLECTIVELY, YOU AND I, JUST BY BEING HERE, ARE HONORING THEM AS BEST WE CAN.
Ronald Halicki in Vietnam who wrote this tribute honoring his troop and all those who have fallen.
AMERICAN SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN HAVE ALWAYS PLACED THEIR BODIES BETWEEN AN ENEMY AND THEIR HOMES -- HOMES THAT WERE USUALLY MANY THOUSANDS OF MILES AND TIME ZONES AWAY, IN LANDS WITH DIFFERENT NAMES, LANGUAGES, FACES, CUSTOMS AND ENVIRONMENTS. AND WHEN SITUATIONS AROUND THEM DICTATED WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE, THEY DID WHAT THOSE WHO SERVE HAVE ALWAYS DONE. THEY MUSTERED THEIR STRENGTH BEYOND THEIR FEARS AND MOVED FORWARD, WEARING THE COLORS OF OUR NATION AND IN SO DOING, THEY PROTECTED AND LIBERATED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD.
A SOLDIER'S LEGACY IS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER THAT ANY HUMAN CAN ACHIEVE, SACRIFICING ALL THAT THEY ARE, ALL THAT THEY MAY EVER HAVE BEEN, SO THAT OTHERS CAN BE FREE.THOSE THAT WE HONOR TODAY HAVE DONE ALL THAT AND, IN ADDITION, THROUGH THE CRUEL HAND OF FATE, MANY DIED DOING SO. THEY PLACED THEMSELVES AS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE.
YOU AND I RIGHT NOW ARE STANDING IN THE HOME TOWN OF MANY OF THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND DIED, A HOME TOWN THAT THEY WERE NEVER FAR AWAY FROM IN THEIR HEARTS, WHEREVER THEY WERE.
SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN ALL WANT TO GET BACK TO FAMILY…TO MOTHERS, FATHERS, SISTERS, BROTHERS, LOVED ONES, DAYS FILLED WITH SUNSHINE...ALL THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW IN THIS MOMENT...TO JUST REMINISCE ABOUT SCHOOL DAYS WITH OLD FRIENDS, FUSS OVER POLITICS, SHARE THE BURDEN OF SNOW STORMS, CREATE NEW STORIES, PUT THINGS AWAY IN DRAWERS, HEAR SONGS ON THE RADIO, PARTAKE IN THE LARGE AND SMALL THINGS OF OUR LIVES. THEY WANTED TO GET HOME TO BE ABLE TO STAND WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, TO SHARE A SMILE FROM A FRIEND OR STRANGER, TO PARTAKE IN A COMMUNITY BY DOING FOR OTHERS, IN OUR HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS OR FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY CARE TO BE SINGLED OUT FOR RECOGNITION, BUT THEY DO WANT TO BE REMEMBERED COLLECTIVELY FOR THE HEROICS THEY WITNESSED BY THEIR FELLOW MATES FAR MORE THAN THEIR OWN SACRIFICES. I BELIEVE THAT THEY WANT US TO FIND ALL THOSE WHO ARE STILL MISSING AND BRING THEM HOME. BUT WHETHER OR NOT THEIR BODIES, KNOWN OR UNKNOWN, ARE ON OUR SOIL OR LYING STILL IN SOME FOREIGN LAND...ITALY, BELGIUM, KOREA... WE CAN BRING THEM HOME ONCE AGAIN, IN THIS MOMENT, BY JUST REMEMBERING WHAT THEY ALL HAVE SACRIFICED.
I USED TO THINK THAT FREEDOM WAS ONLY "FREE" FOR THOSE WHO NEVER SERVED. AFTER ALL, WE ARE THE LUCKY 99%. IT'S THE SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN, THE 1 PERCENT, THE 3 MILLION, WHO PROTECT THE 300 MILLION REST OF US. BUT I WAS WRONG. WE HERE AT HOME HAVE SHARED THE SACRIFICES OF THOSE WE HONOR IN A MILLION WAYS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION, BUT REALIZE THAT FROM THE TIME A SOLDIER LEAVES HOME UNTIL THE TIME HE RETURNS, HIS OR HER THOUGHTS ARE OF YOU, AS THEY AWAIT A SIMPLE LETTER OR KNOWING THAT THEY ARE IN YOUR SILENT PRAYERS, THE PRAYERS THAT THEY KNOW WILL PROTECT THEM.
BY STANDING HERE TOGETHER WE DO HONOR THEM, OUR FALLEN, IN THEIR COLLECTIVENESS. FOR TODAY, BY THIS REMEMBRANCE, BY THE READING OF THEIR NAMES, THEY ARE KNOWN TO US ONCE MORE THROUGH THEIR SINGULAR ETERNAL SILENCE.
ENJOY THIS DAY AND EACH OTHER. IT IS WHAT THEIR VERY LIVES HAVE GIVEN YOU.
TODAY, IN THIS PUBLIC FORUM, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I WOULD LIKE TO PERSONALLY AND FORMALLY HONOR THE FALLEN OF MY UNIT IN VIETNAM. THEY WERE JUST A SMALL SQUADRON, BUT THESE YOUNG MEN FOUGHT AS IF THEY WERE A DIVISION. TO THE 293 TROOPERS OF THE 1ST SQUADRON, 4TH CAVALRY, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION, I SALUTE YOU AND BY REMEMBERING YOU, INTRODUCE YOU TO THE PEOPLE OF FORESTVILLE, N.Y. AND I REPEAT OUR MOTTO: NO MISSION TOO DIFFICULT. NO SACRIFICE TOO GREAT. DUTY FIRST. PREPARED AND LOYAL.
It’s always such a treat to walk your garden after a long, hash winter and discover that a plant has survived and is flowering. Hello there! You made it! So happy to see you! I was genuinely pleased to see the tiny rose- colored flower of lungwort.
Lungwort in my garden in early May.
Lungwort’s scientific name, Pulmonaria officinalis, comes from the Latin pulmo which means lung, hence the common name: lungwort. It was the name used by herbalists in medieval times who believed that the plant was effective in the treatment of lung diseases. In 1649, the noted English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper, wrote that it was good for coughs and shortness of breath – all lung related illnesses. The plant was also known in Poland and utilized in much the same way:
"This is a plant found throughout all of Poland in woods and thickets that are somewhat damp and one of the first harbingers of spring, flowering as soon as March or April and recognized by its flower which begins rose-colored and later bluish-violet" says Sebastian Kneipp in his Zielnik czyli Atlas roślin leczniczych Domowa Apteka (Herbal or Atlas of healing plants for Home Pharmacy). He recommended using the large leaves that develop after it flowers to make a tea for those suffering lung and throat ailments, laryngitis, and hoarseness.
The flower of lungwort does change color as the flower ages. Opening pink, it changes to a rose-violet color over time and at maturity will be blue due to a changing pH value within the flower.
It's Polish name miodunka, meaning honey, also indicates that it was a source of early flowering source of nectar for bees.
Illustration from Kneipp's Zielnik (Herbal of Healing Plants for Home Pharmacy)
For more on plants and flowers and Polish gardens: POLISH HERBS, FLOWERS AND FOLK MEDICINE. Hippocrene Books, Inc.
One of the biggest moments in my life was being able to sign for my very own library card. When I'm not reading, researching and writing I'm riding my bike, sewing or gardening. I love flea markets, folk art, and traveling to Poland.