Monday, May 25, 2009

Remember those who gave all today

Bluffton Today

I would urge all of you to go to the Sun City Veterans Association’s Memorial Day celebration today; there is not a finer or more patriotic one anywhere over this fine land. As for me, I’ll be visiting my dad, an Airborne Korean Conflict veteran who well may be fighting his last battle.
To him, and to you, I honor and thank you.

With Memorial Day upon us, and especially as we are at war, I have been thinking about some of the issues larger than the budget. The South contributes to the ranks of the armed forces in numbers proportionally higher than our population would suggest.

South Carolina is very well represented, even by the Southern standard. And Beaufort County, with its concentration of active-duty military personnel and military retirees, is familiar with the sacrifices entailed in the defense of the republic.

We have Memorial Day to remind ourselves that what we so often take for granted, the gifts that our splendid nation has so amply provided, were not gifts in the sense that they were without cost. My generation has fathers and grandfathers who did not return from World War II or the Korean Conflict. We have brothers lost in the jungles of Vietnam and now we have sons and daughters leaving their lives in the harshness of Afghanistan and Iraq.

From Cowpens to Kirkuk, our freedom has been anything but free. From Camden to Quang Tri to Sadr City, brave young patriots gave their lives so that we might carry forward this great act of faith we call America.

I’m not a constitutional scholar and I don’t often try to sort out the size of the bricks in the wall between church and state. I do know the argument is suspended when you pass through the gates of the Beaufort National Cemetery. It has no currency when you view the thousands of white crosses and Stars of David at Arlington National Cemetery.

Each of our national heroes was carried to his or her rest by the God of their individual understanding. The grief of those left behind was lightened by the rituals and ceremonies of the many faiths we embrace.

I hope you have a good holiday. Get outside and enjoy our wonderful, clean river and lush, green landscape. As you do, please give some thought and perhaps a prayer of gratitude for those who helped secure the blessings we enjoy.

Next week, I will get back to the budget and let you know what we are doing with your money. I’m also going to start giving a little more mention to the many generous and interesting contributors to the vitality of our community.

Please indulge my Memorial Day departure from business as usual. I think sometimes we need to slow down and refocus on the big ideas. It may be another reason we call it the House of Representatives. State Rep. Bill Herbkersman represents Bluffton’s District 118 in Columbia.
He can be reached through his Web site at www.herbkersman.com or by telephone at 757-7900 or (803) 734-3063.