Battlefield Memorials Transcend Politics

by Colonel Dan


The Cowboy Chronicle

July 2004


“There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends ~ Jesus Christ ~

As members of SASS, as Cowboy Action Shooters and as Americans, our past is an important part of our present.  The past is a part of our life that should most times be revered; oft times honored and sometimes regretted, but always honestly learned from and always respectfully remembered for what those who died throughout our yesterdays provided for our todays and our children’s tomorrows.

This month we honor America’s independence.  However, it’s very clear that some modern day politically correct “authorities” have no realization of the deeper meaning of America’s military sacrifices that purchased that freedom, nor do they apparently recognize the true significance of a soldier’s death on the battlefield.  What tells me this?  Some have demonstrated beyond any doubt in my mind, that they have no respect, nor appreciation for what battlefield memorials actually represent, whom they are intended to honor, and why.

What do you mean Colonel?  An amendment was introduced to a previous congressional appropriations bill requiring politically approved briefings be given at battlefield memorials that would stress, above all else, the role selected political factors played in the War Between the States [for the purpose of this column, it doesn’t matter what specific political factor was at issue in this particular case].  Apparently, the authors of this amendment considered America’s memorials as venues for pushing a narrowly focused political agenda.  

Who would write and approve the politically correct scripts of such briefings to ensure the proper message was conveyed—the politically correct among us—of course.  As reported by columnist Samuel Francis, Kate Stevenson, Park Services Associate Director for Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships said:

“I don’t want to hear about battles when I go to a Civil War battlefield. I don’t care about battles.” 

And then there’s John Latschar, superintendent at Gettysburg Battlefield who said:

“I’m just absolutely convinced that we have a far more compelling need to move into the 21st century to give people the basic understanding of why the Civil War was fought and the meaning of it all…  That’s much more important than remembering the names of Union and Confederate generals.”

Battlefield memorials that commemorate and honor America’s soldiers are just not the appropriate place to emphasize political propaganda or push agendas from either side of that war—particularly propaganda that’s based on revisionist history as is found within modern liberalism.  There are more than enough schools for the study of all versions of the political issues underlying the battles so let’s leave the memorials themselves for the commemoration of those that fought the battles.  [I use the term soldier in referring to all the services’ men and women]

Although wars may be started for any number of political reasons, the battles that occur on the fields of those wars are not fought with any political reason foremost in the minds of the soldiers involved.  Political goals, lofty slogans and righteous causes spouted by the politicians that start those wars are crafted mainly to generate support from the people back home and to encourage new recruits to join the fray—they do nothing for the soldiers already there.

Soldiers don’t fight for political goals, supercilious slogans or Machiavellian intrigue; he fights for the men on his left, the men on his right and that man in the middle.  They fight for each other and do extraordinary things in order to keep each other alive and not fail their buddies. 

One of the greatest motivators for any soldier does not stem from fear of the enemy or even fear of mission failure but rather a greater fear that he may somehow fail his fellow-soldier and they will go to super human lengths in many cases, to ensure that just doesn’t happen. 

I’ve been witness to soldiers who willingly and selflessly gave all they had on this earth to give in order to preserve their friend’s lives and well being.  And when a soldier bleeds on a piece of ground, fighting for those on his left and right, he sanctifies that ground far beyond the ability of any bronze statue ever erected.  He has offered up his soul and laid down his life for his friends thus demonstrating that highest form of love and the greatest sacrifice that can be expected of a human being.

For subsequent generations of naïve and agenda driven politicians who’ve never tasted battle themselves to use that ground for some political purpose of promoting any sort of propaganda, spits in the face of every man and woman who ever made that sacrifice.  Political propaganda deserves no place of honor along side selfless sacrifice.  Such intentions on the part of politicians are without any redeeming qualities and deserving of no respect or recognition. 

Simply put, those that would turn these sacred battlefields into venues of propaganda to further their own petty interests show a great disrespect for every one of those wonderful soldiers.  Soldiers who sacrificed their physical lives to preserve their sacred honor are quite different from politicians who sacrifice their sacred honor to preserve their political lives.

Such disrespect shown for those who fought on either side of conflicts throughout history, will not be forgotten, nor soon forgiven by this or any generation to come and is an assault on the very soul of American history, honor and truth.  This battlefield memorial proposal demonstrated the highest form of disregard for soldiers and such disregard for them and their sacrifice I will never be able to tolerate.

Battlefield memorials reach out to and touch a much higher plane than any political agenda can ever hope to achieve.  They reach back in time and very solemnly reveal the souls of those who laid down their lives for their friends, transforming those fields into places of honor; silently speaking volumes to the hearts of the families of those lost in that battle. 

My message to the authors of such politically correct tripe:  Save your personal political agenda for the appropriate political pig pen and don’t dishonor hallowed ground with divisive agendas or you may reap a whirlwind reflective of the spirit of our soldiers who died there while you tear at the hearts of all who honor them for the sacrifices they made there.

Just the view from my saddle…






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