The dates say it all. The land of the free because of the brave. This boy was just 16 years old.
Reagan said it best, this time on Veterans Day, Armistice Day, about the boys who, in death, handed this country on to us, who live (around 3’15” for just a minute) but the whole speech is a gem:
Patriotism is a virtue of the natural law and is blessed by God.
Dad was a veteran. He died many decades ago. I’m sure you knew a veteran sometime in your life. Perhaps you have a favorite memory.
My favorite memory of dad was back in 1962, when I was just 2 1/2 years old. I’d walk up in the Communion line next to him with the rest of the family behind us. This was at the great Saint Mary’s Cathedral with its gorgeous altar rail with the linens flipped over the top. I was always impressed by the linens getting flipped over the top, just as I was with kneeling there beside my dad, reaching up as high as I could to put my hands under the linens like he was doing. I was pretty small. I was filled with such wonder and awe and reverence as the priest and altar boy with paten would make it over to us. They would start on the Epistle side. We were always on the Gospel side. Everything worked together to instill reverence.
It was good be on my knees with dad before the Lord Jesus. Very good. Here we have a warrior on his knees, in reverence, before The Warrior, Jesus, in the epic battle of good over evil, God over Satan. And dad is with Jesus. I love that.
Memorare: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
I was able to offer Holy Mass today for my dad, George Byers Jr. USMC