afrolumensproject
  central pennsylvania african american history for everyone
              ten years on the web 1997 - 2007

     

Midland Memorial, dedicated 1999.

Friends of Midland

P. O. Box 7442
Steelton, Pennsylvania 17113-0442

E-mail:  Friends of Midland

"Let Us Remember"
by SFC Houston D. Wedlock

Memorial Celebration 2005 is scheduled for Saturday, May 28, at 11:30 a.m.

 

Let Us Remember

The following speech was delivered by SFC Houston D. Wedlock at Midland Cemetery on May 29, 2004, on the occasion of the Friends of Midland Eleventh Annual Memorial Day Service.  At the request of many who attended this service, and as a service to everyone who could not attend, we are printing SFC Wedlock's stirring speech here.  SFC Wedlock has kindly consented to the reproduction of this speech, for which we offer our sincere gratitude.  Click here for a biography of SFC Houston D. Wedlock.

EVERY MEMORIAL DAY, I TRY TO DO SOMETHING TO HONOR OUR FALLEN HEROES. AS A YOUNG BOY, I LEFT HOME AND JOINED THE UNITED STATES ARMY. THE LIFE OF A SOLDIER'S BECAME MY HEART. I WAS A LEADER OF MANY YOUNG MEN IN THE VIETNAM WAR AND I LOST SOME VERY CLOSE FRIENDS. MEMORIAL DAY IS NOT JUST A DAY BUT A DAY THAT BRINGS BACK THE MANY MEMORIES OF SOME VERY FINE MEN THAT DID GET THE CHANCE TO RETURN HOME TO THEIR FAMILIES. AS WE GATHER HERE TODAY TO HONOR THESE FALLEN HEROES IN MIDLAND CEMETERY, STEELTON, PA. ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY AND THE THOUSANDS OF OTHER BURIAL SITES ACROSS THIS NATION, GIVE THANKS FOR YOUR LIFE; GIVE THANKS FOR WHAT YOU HAVE, BECAUSE IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE IF THERE WAS NO CAUSE FOR THIS DAY.

THANKFULLY, OUR FORCES NO LONGER FACE THE PROSPECT OF WAR WITH THE SOVIET UNION. TODAY, WE ARE COOPERATING WITH RUSSIA'S EVOLVING DEMOCRACY AND WITH OTHER FORMER FOES AGAINST THE 21ST-CENTURY DANGERS COMMON TO ALL NATIONS.  TODAY’S DEADLY THREATS COME FROM ROGUE POWERS AND STATELESS NETWORKS OF EXTREMISTS, WHO HAVE NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT FOR THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE AND FOR THE PRINCIPLES CIVILIZED NATIONS HOLD DEAR.

I DO NOT KNOW OR CARE WHAT TERRORISTS AND TYRANTS MAKE OF OUR MONUMENTS TO DEMOCRACY AND MEMORIALS WE DEDICATE TO OUR DEAD. WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS WHAT THE MONUMENTS AND MEMORIALS SAY TO US.  THEY CAN TEACH US MUCH ABOUT THE IDEAS THAT UNITED US IN OUR DIVERSITY, THE VALUES THAT SUSTAIN US IN TIMES OF TRIALS, AND THE DREAMS THAT INSPIRE GENERATION AFTER GENERATION OF ORDINARY AMERICANS TO PERFORM EXTRAORDINARY ACTS OF SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY.  IN SHORT, OUR MONUMENTS AND MEMORIALS TELL US A GREAT DEAL ABOUT AMERICA'S COMMITMENT TO LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS FOR ALL.

THE HAUNTING SYMBOLISM OF THE 168 EMPTY CHAIRS AT THE OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL, THE HEARTBREAKING PILES OF SHOES IN THE U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM, THE CAREFULLY TENDED HEADSTONES BEARING CROSSES, CRESCENTS AND STARS OF DAVID STANDING ROW-ON-ROW IN ARLINGTON AND OUR OTHER NATIONAL CEMETERIES- ALL SPEAK TO THE VALUE WE PLACE ON HUMAN LIFE.

THE VIETNAM WOMEN'S MEMORIAL OF THREE  SERVICEWOMEN AND THE WOUNDED GI; THE KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL'S HAGGARD, WINDBLOWN PATROL TRUDGING UP THE RUGGED TERRAIN, AND THE MEMORIAL OF THE FLAG-RAISING ON IWO JIMA DO NOT GLORIFY WAR-- THEY TESTIFY TO THE GLORY OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT.

THE CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS AND THE MONUMENT IN BOSTON TO ROBERT GOULD SHAW AND HIS 54TH MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT OF NEGRO SOLDIERS WHO RODE TOGETHER INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH FOR THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE TELL US THE PRICE PAST GENERATIONS HAVE PAID, SO WE MIGHT LIVE IN A PERFECT UNION. THEY REMIND US ALSO OF THE WORK OUR GENERATION MUST DO.

THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, WE WILL JOIN IN CELEBRATING THE OPENING OF THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL HONORING THE GREAT GENERATION OF AMERICANS WHO SAVED THE WORLD FROM FASCIST AGGRESSION AND SECURED THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY FOR HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.

TODAY, THEIR DESCENDANTS ARE FIGHTING THE GLOBAL WAR AGAINST TERRORISM, SERVING AND SACRIFICING IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ AND AT OTHER OUTPOSTS ON THE FRONT LINES OF FREEDOM.

THE LIFE OF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM IS PRECIOUS TO THEIR LOVED ONES AND TO OUR NATION, AND EACH LIFE GIVEN IN THE NAME OF LIBERTY IS A LIFE THAT HAS NOT BEEN LOST IN VAIN.

ALL OF US LEAD BUSY LIVES, WE HAVE LITTLE TIME TO PAUSE AND REFLECT. BUT I ASK OF YOU: DO NOT HASTEN THROUGH MEMORIAL DAY. TAKE THE TIME TO REMEMBER THE GOOD SOULS WHOSE MEMORIES ARE A BLESSING TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. TAKE YOUR CHILDREN TO OUR MEMORIAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS. TEACH THEM THE VALUES THAT LEND MEANING TO OUR LIVES AND THE LIFE OF OUR NATION.

ABOVE ALL, TAKE THE TIME TO HONOR OUR FELLOW AMERICANS WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION TO OUR COUNTRY AND FOR THE FREEDOMS WE CHERISH.

SFC Houston D. Wedlock
May 29, 2004

WE ARE ON THE MOVE.  WON'T YOU JOIN US?

Friends of Midland Home Page

Afrolumens Project Home | Enslavement | Underground Railroad | 19th Century | 20th Century

Original material on this page copyright 2004-2005 Afrolumens Project
This speech has been reproduced here with the express permission of the author.
The url of this page is http://www.afrolumens.org/rising_free/remember.html

This page was updated June 1, 2004.