Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why celebrate Memorial Day? Why is Memorial Day important?

Arlington National Cemetary

What is Memorial Day? It’s the day that we remember all those brave men and women who have sacrificed to protect our liberties and our lives so that we could be safe from harm.

This video may help you to understand.

From Hot Air, a quote from Ronald Reagan.

Memorial Day is an occasion of special importance to all Americans, because it is a day sacred to the memory of all those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy. We will never forget or fail to honor these heroes to whom we owe so much. We honor them best when we resolve to cherish and defend the liberties for which they gave their lives. Let us resolve to do all in our power to assure the survival and the success of liberty so that our children and their children for generations to come can live in an America in which freedom’s light continues to shine.

The Congress, in establishing Memorial Day, called for it to be a day of tribute to America’s fallen, and also a day of national prayer for lasting peace. This Nation has always sought true peace. We seek it still. Our goal is peace in which the highest aspirations of our people, and people everywhere, are secure: peace with freedom, with justice, and with opportunity for human development. This is the permanent peace for which we pray, not only for ourselves but for all generations.

The defense of peace, like the defense of liberty, requires more than lip service. It requires vigilance, military strength, and the willingness to take risks and to make sacrifices. The surest guarantor of both peace and liberty is our unflinching resolve to defend that which has been purchased for us by our fallen heroes.

On Memorial Day, let us pray for peace — not only for ourselves, but for all those who seek freedom and justice.

And check some of my Medal of Honor posts:

If you want to help out our troops, you can send them things through Soldier’s Angels.

I am listening to this podcast from the Heritage Foundation about the origin and meaning of Memorial Day.

God bless our soldiers, airmen and sailors!

For more reading, why not check out some of the military bloggers?

If you want to help out our troops, you can send them things through Soldier’s Angels.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SAS war hero jailed for keeping trophy pistol given to him by Iraqi Army

The UK Telegraph reports.

Excerpt:

An SAS soldier has been jailed for possessing a “war trophy” pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service.

Sgt Danny Nightingale, a special forces sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial last week.

His sentence was described last night as the “betrayal of a war hero”, made worse because it was handed down in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Sgt Nightingale had planned to fight the charge of illegally possessing the 9mm Glock.

But his lawyer said he pleaded guilty after being warned that he could otherwise face a five-year sentence.

The soldier had hoped for leniency given the circumstances. At the court martial, even the prosecution described him as a serviceman of exemplary character, who had served his country for 17 years, 11 in the special forces.

The court was told that he returned to Britain in a hurry after two friends were killed in Iraq, leaving his equipment — including the pistol — to be packed up by colleagues.

It accepted evidence from expert witnesses that he suffered severe memory loss due to a brain injury.

Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, presiding over the court martial, could have spared the soldier prison by passing a suspended sentence. Instead he handed down the custodial term.

Sgt Nightingale and his family chose to waive the anonymity usually given to members of the special forces.

His wife, Sally, said her husband’s sentence was a “disgrace”. She called him a “hero who had been betrayed”. She said she and the couple’s two daughters, aged two and five, faced losing their home after his Army pay was stopped.

The soldier’s former commanding officer and politicians have called for the sentence to be overturned.

Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.

He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.

“I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”

In 2007, Sgt Nightingale was serving in Iraq as a member of Task Force Black, a covert counter-terrorist unit that conducted operations under orders to capture and kill members of al-Qaeda.

He also helped train members of a secret counter-terrorist force called the Apostles. At the end of the training he was presented with the Glock, which he planned to donate to his regiment as a war trophy.

The Special Air Service is the absolute best counter-terrorism unit in the world. Better than the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, better than the U.S. Navy SEALS, better than the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Operations Group. This is no way to treat a member of the SAS.

There is more compassion for the criminal in the UK than for the law-abiding person. But why is that? I believe it’s because the UK has become dominated at every level by women, because of feminism. Women don’t like the sound of guns, and they don’t like people to own guns, even if they are ex-military or ex-police. Women just don’t value men who use strength and arms to do the right thing – strength and force makes them uncomfortable. Women tend to want to suppress moral judgments because they don’t want anyone, even burglars and criminals, to feel bad. Women like compassion. Women like tolerance. Women think that if every belief is true and all points of view are equally correct. They want to minimize disagreements and violence. They are uncomfortable with men using force because that makes evil people feel bad. That’s why they have these ridiculous anti-male laws.

Feminism seeks to abolish the special roles played by men, like protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. The policies of the UK government are designed to block men from filling those roles. Handguns were banned in 1997 and men who defend their families and homes are regularly prosecuted by the UK government. Tax rates are extremely high the more you earn, making it harder for a man to support a family on one income while his wife stays home with the children to raise them. Out-of-wedlock birth is facilitated through state-run health care and single-mother welfare payments, so that women can raise fatherless children with ease.  The antipathy against strong men reflected in laws and policies is probably one of the reasons why men shy away from marriage. Why take on a commitment like that when you cannot even defend your family from evil?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is the meaning of Memorial Day?

Arlington National Cemetary

What is Memorial Day? It’s the day that we remember all those brave men and women who have sacrificed to protect our liberties and our lives so that we could be safe from harm.

This video may help you to understand.

From Hot Air, a quote from Ronald Reagan.

Memorial Day is an occasion of special importance to all Americans, because it is a day sacred to the memory of all those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy. We will never forget or fail to honor these heroes to whom we owe so much. We honor them best when we resolve to cherish and defend the liberties for which they gave their lives. Let us resolve to do all in our power to assure the survival and the success of liberty so that our children and their children for generations to come can live in an America in which freedom’s light continues to shine.

The Congress, in establishing Memorial Day, called for it to be a day of tribute to America’s fallen, and also a day of national prayer for lasting peace. This Nation has always sought true peace. We seek it still. Our goal is peace in which the highest aspirations of our people, and people everywhere, are secure: peace with freedom, with justice, and with opportunity for human development. This is the permanent peace for which we pray, not only for ourselves but for all generations.

The defense of peace, like the defense of liberty, requires more than lip service. It requires vigilance, military strength, and the willingness to take risks and to make sacrifices. The surest guarantor of both peace and liberty is our unflinching resolve to defend that which has been purchased for us by our fallen heroes.

On Memorial Day, let us pray for peace — not only for ourselves, but for all those who seek freedom and justice.

And check some of my Medal of Honor posts:

If you want to help out our troops, you can send them things through Soldier’s Angels.

God Bless Our Troops!

UPDATE: I am listening to this podcast from the Heritage Foundation about the origin and meaning of Memorial Day.

For more reading, why not check out some of the military bloggers?

If you want to help out our troops, you can send them things through Soldier’s Angels.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is the meaning of Memorial Day?

Arlington National Cemetary

What is Memorial Day? It’s the day that we remember all those brave men and women who have sacrificed to protect our liberties and our lives so that we could be safe from harm.

This video may help you to understand.

From Hot Air, a quote from Ronald Reagan.

Memorial Day is an occasion of special importance to all Americans, because it is a day sacred to the memory of all those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy. We will never forget or fail to honor these heroes to whom we owe so much. We honor them best when we resolve to cherish and defend the liberties for which they gave their lives. Let us resolve to do all in our power to assure the survival and the success of liberty so that our children and their children for generations to come can live in an America in which freedom’s light continues to shine.

The Congress, in establishing Memorial Day, called for it to be a day of tribute to America’s fallen, and also a day of national prayer for lasting peace. This Nation has always sought true peace. We seek it still. Our goal is peace in which the highest aspirations of our people, and people everywhere, are secure: peace with freedom, with justice, and with opportunity for human development. This is the permanent peace for which we pray, not only for ourselves but for all generations.

The defense of peace, like the defense of liberty, requires more than lip service. It requires vigilance, military strength, and the willingness to take risks and to make sacrifices. The surest guarantor of both peace and liberty is our unflinching resolve to defend that which has been purchased for us by our fallen heroes.

On Memorial Day, let us pray for peace — not only for ourselves, but for all those who seek freedom and justice.

And check some of my Medal of Honor posts:

If you want to help out our troops, you can send them things through Soldier’s Angels.

God Bless Our Troops!

UPDATE: I am listening to this podcast from the Heritage Foundation about the origin and meaning of Memorial Day.

For more reading, why not check out some of the military bloggers?

If you want to help out our troops, you can send them things through Soldier’s Angels.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What can Christians learn from Rob Miller’s Medal of Honor story?

A Congressional Medal of Honor

A Congressional Medal of Honor (Air Force version)

Here’s a story from the Chicago Tribune to explain how a person can win the Congressional Medal of Honor. (H/T Blackfive)

Excerpt:

The damage assessment patrol walked north about 800 meters to a bridge impassable by vehicle. Led by Miller, the team turned east, crossed the estimated 100-foot bridge and turned south into a narrow, steep valley. They had trekked for about 45 minutes.

“That’s when we walked into the hornet’s nest,” McGarry said.

About 40 insurgents had dug under rock formations in the narrow pass east of the Kunar River. Nearly 200 more were higher on a ridge, Lodyga said.

Miller’s teammates recalled that an Afghan National Army soldier spotted an insurgent obstructed by a boulder and ordered him to surrender. The man refused.

“You heard somebody yell ‘Allah Akbar,’” the Muslim phrase loosely translated as “God is great,” Lodyga said, “and then an overwhelming amount of firepower came down on us.”

Miller’s first move was to shoot and kill the insurgent who had stepped from the boulder about 20 feet away, said McGarry. Other insurgents were nearly as close, Lodyga said. He, McGarry and Cusick said it was the worst firefight they’d experienced.

“It was almost like standing in the middle of all the fireworks on the Fourth of July,” Cusick recalled. “It was very loud.”

Added McGarry, “There were so many people shooting at us, the bullets were kicking up everything around us. I kept looking over and saw Rob shooting.”

Then McGarry and the others saw something else: Miller charged the enemy, firing his lightweight machine gun at several insurgent positions. At the same time, he was calling out the directions of and distances to enemy positions.

“Robbie was shouting at everybody to bound back, bound back,” McGarry recalled, “and he was taking on the entire south area of the kill zone by himself. I couldn’t look over for too long, but it took me a second or two to take it all in.”

Miller’s approach, while bold, was tactically astute. He was engaging at least four enemy positions and drawing their fire, allowing his teammates to get to safer ground. His aim was deadly accurate. Military records credit him with killing more than 16 insurgents and wounding 30.

In the first few moments, Cusick, the commander, was severely wounded when a bullet struck near his left collarbone and tore an exit hole in his left shoulder blade. His lung was punctured. One of the team members ran to his side and thrust a needle in his chest, allowing him to breathe.

While firing at the enemy, the rest of the team also was seeking cover, McGarry said.

Miller kept charging and firing, and when he had stopped firing, he threw at least two grenades “into enemy machine gun fire that basically had the patrol locked down,” Lodyga said. “He took them out.”

[...]So much chaos was roiling that patch of the narrow pass where the Special Forces were ambushed that it’s unclear how long Miller charged and engaged the insurgents. Those on the patrol said it could have been five to 15 minutes before he was shot inches below his right armpit, a spot unprotected by body armor.

“I don’t know if he stayed on his feet or not after he was shot,” Lodyga said, “but I do know he turned toward the enemy position and kept firing. He killed two or three right there.”

Two to five minutes later, Miller was struck again under his left armpit and died immediately. The entry points of the wounds indicate his arms were raised to fire his weapon, a young man facing death courageously.

“At the end of the day,” Lodyga said, “if Robbie hadn’t been courageous and did what came as second nature to him, you’d be looking at eight dead Special Forces. That’s what Robbie gave his life for.”

The military goes even further, contending that Miller’s actions also saved the lives of an estimated 12 Afghan National Army soldiers.

Although tens of millions of men and women have worn the uniform of the armed forces for the U.S., fewer than 3,500 have earned a Medal of Honor.

Actually, it’s much rarer than that – the military has really tightened up the requirements in the last 100 years or so. Basically, you have to give your life to save many others under heavy fire in order to win a medal of honor. They are extremely rare.

Here are the requirements for the Army version:

The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Army, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

I once read an entire book on Medal of Honor award winners in World War II. It’s hard to read those stories, because these people who won the award did amazing acts of bravery, courage and self-sacrifice, but then most of them DIED. The stories almost always end in sadness and grief. Here’s the one that really stuck with me as an example. I read that book in 1999 as part of my effort to develop humility. I wanted to break down my own pride, and so I intentionally engaged in an activity to achieve that goal.

Today, many people think it is horrible to look up to anyone who is better than we are at anything. We don’t believe in heroes any more. We think that virtues are easy. That anyone can be virtuous. That virtue takes no preparation or discipline. That brave or cowardly acts are just things that people do because they like one or the other, and that’s all. That everyone, good or evil, is basically doing what they want to do. But I don’t think that’s true. I think bravery, courage and self-sacrifice are objectively good, and that we ought to recognize and honor those virtues.

I think we need to get into the habit of realizing that the character of a person as measured against an objective standard is more important than what they can do to make ME happy. Sometimes, we just need to hold up examples of goodness to ourselves and to others, even if it makes us feel inadequate. Acknowledging what is good is the first step to being good yourself. If you don’t acknowledge that anyone is better than you are, then how will you grow? You have to look at what the best people are doing and honor them and learn from them.

I think that as Christians, the more we reflect on the message of the gospel and the example of Jesus, the more sensitive and appreciative we become of things he exemplified, like self-sacrifice and humility. Jesus deserves something like a Medal of Honor, for sacrificing his life to save others in difficult circumstances. He showed courage in the face of danger in order to die in the place of every single person who has ever lived. When we stand before him to give our account, will we have love our neighbor the same way? Will he pin something like a Medal of Honor on our chest for uncommon valor under heavy fire? Stories like Rob Miller’s makes us think about that, don’t they? And that is a good thing. The story of a war hero points beyond the story to the moral truths that are built into the universe by God himself.

So that’s why I think it’s important for Christians to be grateful to those who give their lives fighting evil in foreign lands so that we can have liberty, prosperity and security here at home. I am grateful for the sacrifice of Rob Miller. Gratitude is another virtue that we often overlook.

You can read more about Rob Miller and see pictures of him here on Blackfive.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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