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"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, November 10, 2014

Honoring Those Who Served

Kings Mountain memorial, SC
Veterans Day is a fairly modern holiday, established to honor anyone who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces—in contrast with Memorial Day, which serves to remember those who died while serving. Originally named Armistice Day, in celebration of the agreement that ended World War I, signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Day)

I suspect we history buffs hold those who served in the older wars of our country, particularly the War Between the States and the American Revolution, in special awe.
It’s always heartwarming to me to walk through an old cemetery and see memorial flags decorating the graves of those who were known veterans ... sobering to look at photographs of the oldest living veterans of the Revolution, and to wonder what their stories were.

Confederate graves, Strawberry Chapel, SC
 

 As the wife, daughter, and sister of veterans, I’m keenly aware of the sacrifice. In awe of those who went weeks, months, and often years without word of their loved ones who went off to fight. Fascinated by the courage and tenacity it took for both men and women to endure wartime—especially those brave women who followed their men on campaign for love and necessity.
Kings Mountain, SC

In working on my next article, which focuses on the infamous British officer Banastre Tarleton, I began to wonder, why does the whole myth vs. fact thing matter ... and am I dishonoring those who fought for our country’s freedom?

Henry & Eliza Laurens, Mepkin Abbey, SC
To begin with, deconstructing myth can be hard and cruel. I've found that people would often rather hold onto their suppositions and prejudices than accept evidence for another view--or even look at the other side of an issue. (Just look at the debate over whether the Civil War really began over states’ rights or slavery.) And it's astonished me how fact can get embellished into legend, and either romanticized or demonized, not very long after the fact.

The more I read and study, the more I realize that some myths will never be completely dispelled. People's opinions are sometimes literally set in stone, and so many will continue believing the idea that the patriot cause was completely righteous, and the British one completely corrupt.

In truth, I think any serious examination of primary sources will reveal that the issues of time past were far more complex ... just as complex as some of the issues of today. And just like today, some find it easy to decide which side to give their allegiance to, but for others, the choice was excruciatingly difficult.

Francis Waring, WWII veteran, Strawberry Chapel, SC
Regardless of political leanings, the truth is that our country came to be through the blood, sweat, and tears of those who believed there was something worth fighting for ... and despite all odds, this upstart, ragtag bunch of colonists managed to wear out one of the greatest empires in the world. It was nothing short of Divine Providence that allowed us to be, and later continue as a union—and for that, I am awed and grateful.

Ironwork at the Laurens family plot, Mepkin Abbey, SC
So for today, for this month, I would like to offer my deepest gratitude, first to the Author and Finisher of our faith and freedom, and then to those who fought on behalf of both. This country has been a wonder and a marvel to many, over the past 238-plus years!

May God continue to bless America—and have mercy on us.

(Photos by Kimberli Buffaloe, Breanna McNear, and myself)

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for your thought provoking post and the wonderful photos.

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    1. Thank you so much, Carla! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. Great post, Shannon. A wonderful tribute to all our veterans

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    1. Thank you, Janet! We certainly owe them all a deep debt of gratitude.

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  3. Yes indeed. May God continue to bless us—and have mercy. Thank you for this wonderful tribute.

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  4. Love this article, Shannon. Great job.

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    1. I'm horribly late in saying so, but ... thank you!! :)

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