Chaplain’s Dedication

DEDICATION

IN 1905 THE SPANISH BORN AMERICAN PHILOSOPHER, POET, AND AUTHOR, GEORGE SANTAYANA, MADE THIS STATEMENT: THOSE WHO FORGET HISTORY ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT. I BELIEVE THIS TO BE TRUE, BUT THANNKFULLY IT IS NOT A PROBLEM IN OUR AREA. YOU NEED ONLY VISIT THE FIELD OF FLAGS AT UNION POINT OR ATTEND ANY OF THE MANY EVENTS AT OUR NATIONAL CEMETERY TO CONFIRM THIS FOR YOURSELF. OUR CITY AND STATE ARE STEEPED IN HISTORY AND ACCOUNTS OF OUR PARTICIPATION IN THE MANY STRUGGLES OUR COUNTRY HAS UNDERGONE SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT 242 YEARS AGO. WHEN I WAS ASKED TO SPEAK SOME WORDS TO DEDICATE AND MEMORIALIZE THE SERVICE OF LOCAL CITIZENS WHO TOOK PART IN WORLD WARS 1 AND 2, I WAS HONORED AND HAPPY TO COMPLY. MY ONLY QUESTION WAS DID WE HAVE A PARTICULAR FORMAT TO GO BY. I WAS TOLD NO, TO DEVELOP ONE ON MY OWN. I WENT HOME AND LOOKED UP THE WORD DEDICATE IN MY DICTIONARY. THE DEFINITION WAS TO SET ASIDE FOR A SPECIAL USE OR PURPOSE, TO MEMORIALIZE, TO COMPLEMENT, OR TO OPEN TO PUBLIC USE. THIS IS ESPECIALLY MEANING TO ME BECAUSE MY FATHER IS A WORLD WAR ONE VETERAN BURIED IN THE LOCAL NATIONAL CEMETERY, AND I AM HAPPY AND HONORED TO BE A MEMBER OF A FAMILY OF 4 GENERATIONS WHO SERVED IN THE MILITARY. I REALIZE THAT NOTHING THAT I CAN SAY TO ADD TO WHAT THOSE WHO WE ARE HONORING TODAY, THEY HAVE DEDICATED THIS MEMORIAL WITH THEIR SERVICE AND BLOOD FAR BEYOND ANYTHING WE COULD ADD. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY THINGS WRITTEN AND SPOKEN DURING OUR HISTORY WHICH HAVE INSPIRED AND STRENGTHENED US IN TIMES OF TROUBLE; THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH, I REGRET I HAVE BUT ONE LIFE TO GIVE TO MY COUNTRY, THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL SPEED AHEAD, REMEMBER THE MAINE, LAFAYETTE, WE ARE HERE, REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR, REMEMBER, YOU’RE 1ST MARINES, ALL THE COMMUNISTS IN HELL CANNOT OVERRUN YOU, RETREAT HELL WE’RE JUST ATTACKING IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, AND MANY OTHERS. THEY WERE ALL APPROPRIATE FOR THEIR OWN TIME AND PLACE, BUT I WAS SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE IN ALL SITUATIONS. I REALIZED IT HAS BEEN RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME AND ALL AROUND ME ALL THE TIME. WHAT IS IT THAT BINDS US ALL TOGETHER AS A NATION, UNITES US IN PURPOSE, DEFINES US AS A PEOPLE, AND HAS BEEN WITH US IN ALL OUR STRUGGLES. IT IS, OF COURSE, OUR FLAG, THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, DESIGNED BY BETSY ROSS. AS WE HAVE GROWN, SO HAS OUR FLAG, FROM 13 STARS TO 50. YOU HAVE JUST HEARD A BEAUTIFUL RENDITION OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM, AND EVERY TIME YOU REPEAT THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, YOU ARE DEDICATING YOURSELF TO ALL THAT HAS GONE BEFORE AND ALL THAT WILL COME IN THE FUTURE. PLEASE STAND, IF YOU ARE ABLE, AND JOIN ME IN THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.