Former President Donald Trump delivered his final Memorial Day message over a year ago — on May 25, 2020, during an appearance at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. And here’s a portion of it.
“From generation to generation, heroes have poured out their blood and sweat and heart and tears for our country. Because of them, America is strong and safe and mighty and free. Because of them, the star-spangled banner still proudly waves. For as long as our flag flies in the sky above, the names of these fallen warriors will be woven into its threads. For as long as we have citizens willing to follow their example, to carry on their burden, to continue their legacy, then America’s cause will never fail and American freedom will never, ever die,” he said.
“Today we honor the heroes we have lost. We pray for the loved ones they left behind, and with God as our witness, we solemnly vow to protect, preserve, and cherish this land that they gave their last breath to defend — and to defend so proudly,” he said.
REAGAN’S FIRST MEMORIAL DAY PROCLAMATION
Let’s also consider a moment with the Gipper.
“Over 100 years ago, Memorial Day was established to commemorate those who died in the defense of our national ideals. Our ideals of freedom, justice, and equal rights for all have been challenged many times since then, and thousands of Americans have given their lives in many parts of the world to secure those same ideals and insure for their children a lasting peace. Their sacrifice demands that we, the living, continue to promote the cause of peace and the ideals for which they so valiantly gave of themselves,” President Ronald Reagan said in his proclamation for the day, May 25, 1981.
‘Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace — a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our nation.”
ONE FOR THE GHOST ARMY
A rousing cheer for lawmakers, who are acting quickly to pass bipartisan legislation to award the Ghost Army a Congressional Gold Medal. The unique World War II soldiers used inflatable tanks, radio trickery, dummy parachutists and other diversion to steer the enemy away from advancing U.S. troops. They have been credited with saving an estimated 30,000 lives, their work classified as top secret until 1996.
The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 707 in April to provide these heroes with the recognition. A companion bill — S. 1404 — has been introduced in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat.
“To this day, the secrecy of their mission has meant a delay in formal recognition of their immense contributions,” says Mr. Markey, who calls the soldiers both brave and spirited.
Time is of the essence, though. There are only 11 surviving veterans of the Ghost Army.
Graveside ceremonies also will take place on Memorial Day at four cemeteries in three countries to commemorate the four Ghost Army soldiers who died while heroically serving in these legendary units.
Curious? The best resource is GhostArmyLegacyProject.org.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT
If you are uneasy at the gas station on Memorial Day, you are not alone. The American Automobile Association reveals all.
“Motorists hitting the road to celebrate the unofficial kick-off to summer will be greeted with the most expensive Memorial Day weekend gas prices since 2014,” the organization says.
“The national average has stabilized following the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack, but pump prices are likely to fluctuate leading up to the holiday weekend. Over the past weekend, the national gas price average declined a penny to $3.03, the first decrease in two weeks. While barely cheaper on the week, the average is 17 cents more than last month and $1.12 more expensive than last year.”
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Seeking appropriate film fare for Memorial Day? Parade Magazine has identified the top 50 films that “depict war through many perspectives,” and they have been released in no particular order.
Chances are good that Beltway readers have their own recommendations. This list, however, is one of the few that delves into multiple decades, rather than dwell on the most recent film offerings. And here’s the list, in groups of 10, released Friday.
“Apocalypse Now” (1979), “Patton” (1970), “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930), “Air Force” (1943), “Paths of Glory” (1957), “We Were Soldiers” (2002), “Full Metal Jacket” (1987), “M*A*S*H” (1970), “Midway” (1976), and “Dunkirk” (2017).
“Zero Dark Thirty” (2012), “The Thin Red Line” (1998), “Das Boot” (1981), “Casualties of War” (1989), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), “The Big Red One” (1980), “Sergeant York” (1941), “The Deer Hunter” (1978), “Gallipoli” (1981), and “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957).
“The Dirty Dozen” (1967), “Glory” (1989), “Platoon” (1986), “Stalag 17” (1953), “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989), “Last Flag Flying” (2017), “The Great Escape” (1963), “Unbroken” (2014), “American Sniper” (2014), and “Troy” (2004);
“Twelve O’Clock High” (1949), “Hacksaw Ridge” (2016), “Inglourious Basterds” (2009), “Megan Leavey” (2017), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006), “The Longest Day” (1962), “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), and “1917” (2019);
“Black Hawk Down” (2001), “War Horse” (2011), “Fury” (2014), “Kelly’s Heroes” (1970), “Lone Survivor” (2014), “Catch-22” (1970), “Pearl Harbor” (2001), “G.I. Jane” (1997), “Rescue Dawn” (2007), and “The Patriot” (2000).
POLL DU JOUR
• 65% of U.S. adults consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of the summer; 74% of Republicans, 56% of independents and 71% of Democrats agree.
• 32% of adults overall will stay home and relax; 33% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 34% of Democrats agree.
• 22% will have a family get-together; 26% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 19% of Democrats agree.
• 16% have no plans; 13% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 14% of Democrats agree.
• 14% will do yard work; 18% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.
• 11% will go to church or have religious observances; 12% of Republicans, 8% of independents and 13% of Democrats agree.
SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted May 22-25.
• Have a pleasant and productive Memorial Day, and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.