.......A line in a play by Shakespeare is, “Thou owest God a death.” These men whom we honor today settled their debt forty years ago, and many did so at a very young age. They proceeded onward in that journey we are all traveling to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns.
There is another bit of literature, a verse, which appeals to me as appropriate for today’s program. In World War I, there was horrible fighting in the trenches in France. Some of this warfare took place in what anciently had been the province of Flanders, in the extreme northern part of France.
About events in that area, a poet wrote:
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses row on row that mark our place
And in the sky the larks still bravely singing fly,
scarce heard amidst the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
loved and were loved,
And now we lie in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw the torch –
be yours to hold it high!
If you break faith with us who die
we shall not sleep
though poppies grow in Flanders Fields.”
And so these honored and memorialized dead from the USS Forrestal and from all other conflicts and skirmishes have thrown the torch to us who remain.
We salute them. We thank them for their valor. We pray God’s blessings on their loved ones who survived them. May our actions, as members of the armed services or as citizens, be worthy of them. May we take that torch and indeed hold it high. May we rise up and accomplish that which is necessary to preserve this great nation.
God bless those who have given their lives.
God bless their sacrifice.
And God bless America.
I thank you.
Submitted by: Donald Campeau/Capt. Tom Wimberly
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