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It's Medal of Honor Day. One of the men I honor on Hill 147 is Capt John D. Curran, a high school classmate who was Maj William Adam's co-pilot during the action that resulted in Maj. Adams being awarded the MOH. I will be spending some time up there today reflecting on the supreme sacrifice these men made, and how I might be a better man. I will think of this quote from Chaplain Gittelsohn's eulogy on Iwo Jima:

No, our poor power of speech can add nothing to what these men and the other dead who are not here have already done. All that we even hope to do is follow their example. To show the same selfless courage in peace that they did in war. To swear that by the grace of God and the stubborn strength and power of human will, their sons and ours shall never suffer these pains again. These men have done their job well. They have paid the ghastly price of freedom. If that freedom be once again lost, as it was after the last war, the unforgivable blame will be ours not theirs. So it is we the living who are here to be dedicated and consecrated.

 

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i just read the story about the last mission for maj. adams. its what soldiers did in VN. all involved in that rescue got a salute from me.
 

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Thanks for the reminder for remembrance of those who have sacrificed. I've known a few, and their service and the service of others preserved the freedom I've enjoyed. "...the unforgivable blame will be ours not theirs" is about right.

I took a moment to search and found a page with your Hill 147 Monument efforts. Impressive.
 

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Thank you for sharing and thank you for your service. Being a war history fan, I did a little reading just now about Gittelsohn’s Iwo Jima eulogy and the particulars surrounding it. Very interesting and thought it’d be worth posting the entire speech...here it is...


RABBI ROLAND GITTELSOHN'S EULOGY
THIS IS PERHAPS THE GRIMMEST, and surely the holiest task we have faced since D-Day. Here before us lie the bodies of comrades and friends. Men who until yesterday or last week laughed with us, joked with us, trained with us. Men who were on the same ships with us, and went over the sides with us, as we prepared to hit the beaches of this island. Men who fought with us and feared with us. Somewhere in this plot of ground there may lie the individual who could have discovered the cure for cancer. Under one of these Christian crosses, or beneath a Jewish Star of David, there may rest now an individual who was destined to be a great prophet to find the way, perhaps, for all to live in plenty, with poverty and hardship for none. Now they lie here silently in this sacred soil, and we gather to consecrate this earth in their memory.
IT IS NOT EASY TO DO SO. Some of us have buried our closest friends here. We saw these men killed before our very eyes. Any one of us might have died in their places. Indeed, some of us are alive and breathing at this very moment only because men who lie here beneath us, had the courage and strength to give their lives for ours. To speak in memory of such men as these is not easy. Of them, too, can it be said with utter truth: “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here. It can never forget what they did here.”
No, our poor power of speech can add nothing to what these men and the other dead of our division who are not here have already done. All that we can even hope to do is follow their example. To show the same selfless courage in peace that they did in war. To swear that, by the grace of God and the stubborn strength and power of human will, their sons and ours shall never suffer these pains again. These men have done their job well. They have paid the ghastly price of freedom. If that freedom be once again lost, as it was after the last war, the unforgivable blame will be ours, not theirs. So it be the living who are here to be dedicated and consecrated.
WE DEDICATE OURSELVES, first, to live together in peace the way they fought and are buried in war. Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors, generations ago helped in her founding, and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and [privates], [Blacks] and whites, rich and poor…together. Here are Protestants, Catholics, and Jews…together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination. No prejudice. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy.
Anyone among us the living who fails to understand that, will thereby betray those who lie here. Whoever of us lifts his hand in hate against another, or thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and of the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery. To this, them, as our solemn, sacred duty, do we the living now dedicate ourselves: to the right Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, of all races alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them have here paid the price.
TO ONE THING MORE do we consecrate ourselves in memory of those who sleep beneath these crosses and stars. We shall not foolishly suppose, as did the last generation of America’s fighting, that victory on the battlefield will automatically guarantee the triumph of democracy at home. This war, with all its frightful heartache and suffering, is but the beginning of our generation’s struggle for democracy. When the last battle has been won, there will be those at home, as there were last time, who will want us to turn our backs in selfish isolation on the rest of organized humanity, and thus to sabotage the very peace for which we fight. We promise you who lie here; we will not do that. We will join hands with Britain, China, Russia—in peace, even as we have in war, to build the kind of world for which you died.
WHEN THE LAST SHOT has been fired, there will still be those eyes that are turned backward not forward, who will be satisfied with those wide extremes of poverty and wealth in which the seeds of another war can breed. We promise you, our departed comrades: this, too, we will not permit. This war has been fought by the common man; its fruits of peace must be enjoyed by the common man. We promise, by all that is sacred and holy, that your sons, the sons of miners and millers, the sons of farmers and workers—will inherit from your death the right to a living that is decent and secure.
WHEN THE FINAL CROSS has been placed in the last cemetery, once again there will be those to whom profit is more important than peace, who will insist with the voice of sweet reasonableness and appeasement that it is better to trade with the enemies of mankind than, by crushing them, to lose their profit. To you who sleep here silently, we give our promise: we will not listen: We will not forget that some of you were burnt with oil that came from American wells, that many of you were killed by shells fashioned from American steel. We promise that when once again people seek profit at your expense, we shall remember how you looked when we placed you reverently, lovingly, in the ground.
THIS DO WE MEMORIALIZE those who, having ceased living with us, now live within us. Thus do we consecrate ourselves, the living, to carry on the struggle they began. Too much blood has gone into this soil for us to let it lie barren. Too much pain and heartache have fertilized the earth on which we stand. We here solemnly swear: this shall not be in vain. Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come—we promise—the birth of a new freedom for all humanity everywhere. And let us say…AMEN.
—Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn
 

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Mr. Mike …. " Medal of Honor Day - March 25 "

Thank you for the reminder - - - - - "Les We Forget"
 

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And even now our Mothers and Fathers send their sons and daughters off to war. After the greatest generation stood fast
and did not allow pure evil to destroy the world during WWII, little did they know there would come a day that evil would once again rear it's ugly head. Once again, the next generation of heroes would stand up and move into harms way to destroy another evil called China that would sponsor death and disparity in North Korea. Many died on the battle field of evil to push back those that were intent on destroying the world. We thought we were done and that evil had been destroyed but alas it was not to be. In a far off country that nobody had ever heard of, our generation took up the spear and marched forward. Some did not want to participate but there were those that felt a duty to our country enough to march off into the sun to stand tall amongst the elephant grass, the heat and the smell of blood of their brothers. Once again there were those that got medals for their bravery and giving their all for what our country believed to be the right thing to do for their sons and daughter. We were weary from war and it had taken it's toll but we never gave up. We licked our wounds and continued to be proud of
our past and our future. The war was over for those that came back and it was over forever for those that gave their all. We never forgot and will never forget. Now is another day and another time. Now we have been designated as the country that through out history, has been the leader to stand up. We've done our best to defeat those that have done all they can do to destroy our sons and daughters once again. What are we to do but to fight, love our heritage, fear for our younger generation that they would not have to endure such hardship for the sake of driving evil into hell again and again. We are a country of proud citizens that believe what we do is right for the world and is the right thing to do for our country. We will always put forth every thing we have for the sake of posterity. GOD Bless those that went beyond the call of duty and may GOD bless those that are yet to come.

Sam Rawlins
Helena, GA
 

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Thank you for sharing and thank you for your service. Being a war history fan, I did a little reading just now about Gittelsohn’s Iwo Jima eulogy and the particulars surrounding it. Very interesting and thought it’d be worth posting the entire speech...here it is...
I was invited to read to the students at a local elementary school and this was what I read to an 8th grade history class. I explained the history and the prejudice of the time, how this magnificent document almost didn't see the light of day. I had the complete attention of the class and received several thank you notes as well.
Tomorrow will be the 75th anniversary of the end of the battle.
 

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I would like to recognize those of you who have served in the military. Some of you have entered as boys, sent off to war, and returned as men with experiences only those who have been there could appreciate.. The bonds that you created with your brothers in battle exceeds the limits of the time here on earth.. Character, honor, valor, bravery, and sacrifice are all lessons you all have learned and with great cost for both those who came home and those did not.. Thank you for your service..
 
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