A victory parade here in America well may be counterproductive to our policy objectives in the Middle East. But I don't want our honored dead to be consigned to the memory hole. I can't look at the newspaper pictures of those young Marines and soldiers who sacrificed their lives that my family and I might live. They look like my teenage boys and their friends. How can these warriors -- both the living and the fallen -- be so young, so brave and so able? How can we not stop to honor them? Shakespeare wrote of how the English heroes about to go to battle against the French at Agincourt should be remembered: "And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhood cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."
War is a sordid business, made necessary by human imperfection. We ask our finest citizens to go forth and soil themselves in the killing of other humans for our nation's sake. We ask these young men and women to perform a profoundly personal act -- to be the agency of death and destruction. We owe them a profoundly personal moment of public honor -- even if they say they just want to go home. (One of the great open wounds of our country is the feeling of many of our Vietnam vets, who were not honored on their return.) And we -- the non-warriors -- need that moment, too. This is neither jingoism, nor triumphalism. It is not even, particularly, joy of victory -- although victory was necessary and is gratifying. Rather, it is a quiet pride in these remarkable young men and women who have grown up in our communities.
It would seem that the Greatest Generation's genes skipped a generation, and have blossomed anew in their grandchildren. We must catch and preserve this perishable, noble moment. We mean to offend no one, but we mean to honor our own.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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