WEBSITE UPDATED REGULARLY - UPDATES - 15th MONTHLY

ROLLING THUNDER NATIONAL - VETERANS DAY 2018

NJ VIETNAM MEMORIAL

Montgomery Township, NJ

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Veterans Day Remembrance

Sunday 11.11.18

  

Welcome. All of you. Thank You. Thank You for coming out in the name of our Veterans today.


MY REFLECTION THIS MORNING IS MEANT AS A REMEMBRANCE OF OUR U.S. VETERANS WITHOUT A VOICE, WITHOUT A PHYSICAL PRESENCE - OUR MISSING AND UNACCOUNTED FOR - LAST SEEN AS PRISONERS OF WAR - LAST DECLARED MISSING IN ACTION.


ROLLING THUNDER - HERE ON VETERANS DAY 2011 FOR OUR DEDICATION OF THIS VERY MEMORIAL AND AS THE POW/MIA FLAG FIRST BEGAN TO FLY - HERE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS FOLLOWING - HERE ON VETERANS DAY 2015 AS WE PLANTED THE LINCOLN WITNESS TREE - A SEEDLING FROM A TREE STILL STANDING TODAY IN GETTYSBURG NATIONAL CEMETERY THAT STOOD NEARBY AS PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN DELIVERED THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS - HERE ON VETERANS DAY 2016 AS WE DEDICATED THE POW/MIA CHAIR OF HONOR - HERE LAST YEAR TO REMIND US ALL OF THE 'CULTURE OF REMEMBRANCE' - AND HERE TODAY PROMOTING THE WORD "VET" - PRIDES ITSELF ON BEING "HERE" - BEING "THERE" - BEING "EVERYWHERE" - WORKING YEAR ROUND IN EDUCATING THE PUBLIC, CORRECTING THE PAST, PROTECTING THE FUTURE, COMMITTING TO HELPING VETERANS FROM ALL WARS - BECAUSE THEY, WE, I, BELIEVE.


THIS MORNING - I COMMEND ALL OF YOU, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU, FOR BEING HERE.


SINCE OFFICIAL TRACKING BEGAN - STARTING WITH WW II - MORE THAN 91,000 OF OUR U.S. SERVICEMEMBERS WERE DECLARED PRISONERS OF WAR AND MISSING IN ACTION. UNACCOUNTED FOR.


TODAY - MORE THAN 82,000 OF THOSE 91,000 SOULS REMAIN MISSING AND UNACCOUNTED FOR. FOR COMPARISON'S SAKE - THAT NUMBER IN ESSENCE - EQUALS THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP - TWICE OVER....


THAT IS HOW MANY OF OUR AMERICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE NOT HOME YET. WHO DID NOT RETURN. 


IT IS ABSOLUTELY STAGGERING WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT.

AND THINKING ABOUT IT IS THE POINT OF THE POW/MIA SYMBOL FOUND FLYING ON FLAGS NATIONWIDE - FOUND ON THESE COMMEMORATIVE CHAIRS NATIONWIDE.


THIS EMPTY POW/MIA CHAIR OF HONOR IS MEANT AS A CONSTANT REMINDER - SIGNIFYING SERVICE AND SACRIFICE - OFFICIALLY REPRESENTING OUR FAMILY MEMBERS NOT HERE WITH US. 


IT RECOGNIZES THEIR ABSENCE - INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY - AS A NATION. WE LEAVE SPACE FOR THEM. IT IS A TANGIBLE REMINDER SO THAT THEY NEVER ARE MISSING FROM OUR HEARTS AND MINDS.


AND BEYOND THAT, WE HOPE. WE HOPE FOR THE DAY THEY COME HOME. THE DAY WE AS A NATION ARE REUNITED WITH OUR FAMILY MEMBERS.


IN NOVEMBER OF LAST YEAR - ROLLING THUNDER WITH OTHERS DEDICATED A POW/MIA CHAIR OF HONOR IN OUR NATION'S CAPITAL - IN EMANCIPATION HALL. 


AND WHILE NUMEROUS OF OUR NATION'S LEADERS SPOKE POWERFULLY - IT IS A QUOTE BY HOUSE LEADER NANCY PELOSI THAT I REPEAT THIS MORNING:


SHE SPOKE OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN AS ONCE WARNING 

"OF THE SILENT ARTILLERY OF TIME WEARING AWAY OUR MEMORY..."


IN ALL THAT I SPEAK TO THIS MORNING - THIS IS THE FIGHT THAT I BRING TO YOU AND PLACE IN YOUR LAP. 


WE CAN NEVER FORGET THOSE SOULS WHO GAVE SO MUCH - WHO GAVE THEIR TOMORROWS FOR OUR TODAYS.


HERE THIS MORNING - WE OF COURSE CANNOT CHANGE, UNDO, SO MUCH OF THAT WHICH LIES IN THE SHADOWS BEFORE US THIS VERY DAY - BUT - WE SURE CAN CHANGE, CAN DO, SO MUCH AHEAD AFTER THIS DAY'S SHADOW IS CAST...


AND WE CAN BEST START TO DO THAT BY BEING AWARE.


I SPEAK OF SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS IS THE ABILITY TO IDENTIFY, PROCESS, AND COMPREHEND THE CRITICAL ELEMENTS OF INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE TEAM WITH REGARDS TO THE MISSION. IT'S KNOWING WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND US.


>THE TEAM OF COURSE ARE OUR U.S. SERVICEMEMBERS AND VETERANS - OUR FAMILY. 


OUR TEAM INCLUDES EACH & EVERY SOUL THAT I HAVE SPOKEN OF THIS MORNING.


OUR TEAM INCLUDES OUR ACTIVE DUTY SERVICEMEMBERS - PROTECTING US - PROTECTING OUR FREEDOM - ALL OVER THE WORLD THIS MORNING.


OUR TEAM INCLUDES THOSE VETERANS THIS MORNING - BOUND TO WHEELCHAIRS, BLIND, DEAF, LIMBLESS, SICK, HOMELESS, JOBLESS, PENNILESS. 


SADLY, OUR TEAM INCLUDES OUR 20+ FAMILY MEMBERS WHO TAKE THEIR LIFE TODAY.  MY LONG TIME CHILDHOOD FRIEND, FRIEND TO MY FAMILY, VETERAN, TAKING HIS LIFE ON JUNE 2ND.


AND OUR TEAM INCLUDES THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN THAT ARE PREPARING TO RAISE THEIR RIGHT HAND AND SWEAR AN OATH OF ENLISTMENT SOMEWHERE THIS MORNING AS WE SPEAK. THOSE DOING SO TOMORROW AND THE NEXT DAY...


>THE MISSION OF COURSE IS OUR FREEDOM.


AND WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT - THE VALUE OF OUR FREEDOM AT ANY GIVEN TIME CAN BE LIKENED TO SITTING IN ANY CHAIR WE CHOOSE - ANYWHERE - ANY PLACE - AND THINKING ABOUT THE THINGS WE'LL DO WHEN WE GET UP FROM THAT CHAIR - SUCH A LUXURY EARNED AND DESERVED BY SO MANY OTHERS WHO CANNOT. 


THE VALUE OF FREEDOM IS PULLING UP A CHAIR TO A TABLE FULL OF LOVED ONES - A TABLE WITH ALL OF THE CHAIRS FILLED BESIDE US.


IN CLOSING - The Theme we bring forth this morning is one of interaction ahead. It is a call to action - a theme that is meant to extend well beyond the day - well beyond today.


Our Veterans need us - they needed us yesterday - they need us today - they'll need us tomorrow.


It simply is not enough to take a single day out of 365 days a year - to adequately show thanks - to adequately give appreciation - to the very body of those who have provided a 365 day a year calendar as we know it in the first place...


I INVITE YOU TO FOREVER MORE "VET" YOURSELVES. 


TO PARAPHRASE ELEANOR ROOSEVELT - 


((Eleanor Roosevelt's Wartime Prayer


Dear Lord,
Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember that somewhere,
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?))


SOMEWHERE OUT THERE SOMEONE DIED FOR ME TODAY - AM I AN AMERICAN WORTH DYING FOR...


THANK YOU.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL. GODSPEED.




~MM  RTN MEMBER