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MRS. LIEUTENANT Blog Salutes U.S. Military on Memorial Day

Tomorrow, May 26, my husband Mitch will fly the American flag from the front of our house. As a former ROTC officer in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam War, Mitch always flies the flag on Memorial Day, July 4th and Veterans Day.

In anticipation of Memorial Day this year, I read the May 24th “Cross Country” article in The Wall Street Journal by Kevin Ferris titled “Protesting the Antiwar Protestors.” The article describes how Rich Davis, a
20-year veteran of the Navy who retired in 2001, ended up challenging the Chester County Peace Movement anti-war protesters who have spent every Saturday since March 2003 protesting outside the courthouse in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

After watching from his nearby apartment throughout 2006 and 2007, on September 8, 2007, he took a hand-made sign in support of the U.S. military’s mission and walked out to face the anti-war protesters. Tears came to my eyes when I read this about Davis:

“He was just a kid during the Vietnam War, but he is still bothered by the disrespect heaped on returning Vietnam vets in the 1960s and ‘70s. In part that is because, in 1967, Mr. Davis attended the funeral of a man he idolized – his sister’s boyfriend, Marine Lance Cpl. Alan R. Schultz from Levittown, Pa. Schultz was killed by mortar fire in Vietnam.

“Even today, Mr. Davis can’t look at an antiwar protest without thinking that Schultz, his comrades and their modern-day counterparts are being disrespected. So after seeing the war protesters each week, Mr. Davis said to himself, ‘Not this war. Not this time.’”

A few weeks after Davis’ initial solitary pro-U.S. military stand he had “about 40 sign-holding, flag-waving supporters at his side, thanks to support from the Gathering of Eagles” – And now Davis’ group is getting organized – Chester County Victory Movement – with its own website (

Here from a recent posting on is one such modern-day counterpart of Lance Cpl. Schultz who should be respected:

“Senior Airman Jonathan Yelner volunteered to be sent to Afghanistan two months ago to help local residents build new roads and buildings and to set up water supplies.

“Yelner, 24, was killed Tuesday when a bomb exploded near his vehicle near Bagram, about 25 miles north of Kabul and the site of an air base where U.S. forces are stationed.

“Yelner, a six-year Air Force veteran, was a weapons loader who had been assigned to the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. He was serving with the 755th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Air Base as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, military officials said.”

The boldface is mine because I want to emphasize that Jonathan Yelner was someone in the military who died serving his country – and he died not in battle, but in the U.S.’s humanitarian efforts to help impoverished people. In the hours before he was killed in Afghanistan, how do you think he would have felt if he could have seen the Chester anti-war protesters waving their anti-military signs?

It’s easy to go out on a Saturday and wave signs against fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not easy to volunteer to serve your country and lose your life doing so.

Sometimes I imagine a science fiction movie in which there are no more military troops left to protect the U.S. And, as the evil forces attack and destroy every single city in the U.S., the dying Americans say: “Where’s the military when you need them?”

On this 2008 Memorial Day, I hope that we all count our blessings – the men and women of the U.S. military serving their country and thus protecting each and every one of us.

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