• We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. -Benjamin Franklin, Freedom Fighter

  • We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. -Martin Luther King, Jr., Freedom Fighter

  • Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms. -Rudolf Carnap, Philosopher

  • A clash of doctrines is not a disaster—it is an opportunity. -Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher

  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poet

  • Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi, Mystic

  • If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. – Rene Descartes, Philosopher

  • A house divided against itself cannot stand. -Abraham Lincoln, President

  • Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einstein, Scientist

  • Be the change you want to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi, Freedom Fighter

Memorial Day 2011

… that these dead shall not have died in vain.
Abraham Lincoln
From the The Post and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, May 18, 2011

North Charleston soldier killed in Afghanistan

A soldier from North Charleston — whose family said he’d been in Afghanistan for just a few of days — was killed along with four other troops Monday when a roadside bomb exploded in the southern part of the country.
The family of Army Pvt. Cheziray Pressley, 21, remembered him as a soldier dedicated to the service and as a son who loved to cut-up and make others laugh.
“He was a fun-loving young man,” said his father, Raymond Pressley on Wednesday, moments before he was to board a plane destined for Dover, Del., to await the return of his son’s body.
Cheziray Pressley, War in Afghanistan … Aaron Elandt, Iraq War … Abraham Lincoln, President … Andrew Goodman, Civil Rights Worker … Anna Campos, Spanish American War … Antonio Francisco Abad, World War II … Charles Bent, Mexican Campaign … Chief Black Kettle, Indian Wars … Clem Moser, World War I … Brandon Kirton, War in Afghanistan … David Douglas, Union Army, Civil War … Donald McIntosh, Indian Wars … Edgar Hubert, Spanish-American War … Edmund Rice, Union Army, Civil War … Emily [unknown last name], Union Army, Civil War … George Cohen, World War II … Ivan Appleby, Vietnam War … James Newell, War of 1812  … John Dzeda, World War I … Joseph Freeman, World War I … Kurt Gruber, World War II … Nathan Hale, War for Independence … James Earl Chaney, Civil Rights Worker … Jesse Farley Dyer, Mexican Campaign … John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President … Justin Pollard, Iraq … Lars Larsen, World War I … Mary Hartso, World War II … Michael Schwerner, Civil Rights Worker … Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., Korean War … Mohammed Ali, World War II … Ramon C. Ojeda, IraqReuben Smith Turman, Spanish-American War … Russell Smith, Jr, Persian Gulf War … Sitting Bull, Indian Wars … Stanley Bartusiak, Persian Gulf War … Taylor Maricle, Union Army, Civil War … Thomas H. Amos, Vietnam War … Walter Szeliga, World War II … William Dunkin, War of 1812 … Wilma Ledbetter, Korean War … Amaru Aguilar, War in Afghanistan
These men and women died for us, we the people. They died so that we could be free, so that we might live in peace. They died so that we might inherit the Blessings of Liberty, passing them forward to our children and grandchildren. Since the shot heard ‘round the world was fired in Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, more than 1,200,000 American men and womenhave given their last full measure of devotion so that we might live free.
They died not just for us, but for all who yearn to be free. They died for the Egyptians in Tahrir Square and the Libyan freedom fighters in Tripoli. They died for the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan who yearn to be free just as they died for the Israelis and Palestinians wanting to live free in peace.
Men and Women… Republicans … Democrats … Federalists and Whigs … Pennsylvanians … Michiganders … New Yorkers … Texans … Washingtonians … Floridians … Californians … Right-Wing Conservatives … Left-Wing Liberals … Socialists … Communists … Capitalists … Unionists … Brits … Native Americans … French … Japanese … Chinese … Koreans … Nigerians … Armenians … Germans … Russians … Czechs … Italians … Columbians … Mexicans … Salvadorans…Indians … Pakistanis … Egyptians … Lebanese … Syrians … Israelis … Palestinians … Whites … Blacks … Yellows … Reds … Christians … Jews … Buddhists … Moslems … Catholics … Born-Agains and Atheists … Straights … Gays … Lesbians.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Freedom is a human aspiration. It knows no ethnicity, no nationality. It is colorblind. It has different sexual orientations. Its prayers to God take many forms … or no form at all.
The human heart hungers to be free. We see this in our children as they first crawl and then walk and then even more when they turn two, or become teenagers. Freedom is built into us, every bit as much as the instinct to breathe.
Our hearts hunger not only for our own freedom. Our hearts hunger as well for the freedom of others. Every parent knows this. Our hearts understand that, as Martin Luther King reminded us, justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.
It is in our hearts’ deepest yearnings for freedom that we give that last full measure of devotion. It’s what lets a man throw himself on a grenade so that his unit may live. It’s what lets a woman fly a chopper into battle so she can rescue her comrades. It’s what led James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner to their deaths bringing freedom to segregated Mississippi in the summer of 1963 as freedom leads the brave men and women in North Africa, the Middle East and throughout the world who today fight for their own freedom and the freedom of others. Freedom is what led Moses back to Egypt and Jesus to the cross.
On this Memorial Day, let us bring into the present Lincoln’s inspiring words from our own Civil War, from Gettysburg, 1863:
It is  … for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that all nations under God shall have their own birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall spread across the earth.
Let Freedom Ring.
Copyright © 2011. Stan Stahl. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to republish this essay in its entirety provided its source is identified asThe Agnostic Patriot at www.agnosticpatriot.org and this copyright is included.
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