(Received: 05/29/2016, Posted: 05/29/2016)


A Memorial Day Message
From Richard Pearson, Illinois State Rifle Association

If you're traveling along the northern end of I-55 this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to turn off at Exit 244 and take a short drive to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Tucked into a corner of the old Joliet Arsenal, Lincoln National was dedicated as the nation's 117th national cemetery nearly 20 years ago. Since its dedication, Lincoln National has served as a final resting place for an ever-growing cadre of our deceased military veterans.

As you gaze across the many rows of neatly-aligned headstones, you should pause to ponder the humanity the markers represent. Interred in the heartland prairie are people like you and me. They came from all walks of life with ancestry reaching back to every corner of the globe. They were men; they were women. They worshiped a variety of deities; or worshiped none at all. They voted Republican; they voted Democrat. They were many things, but above all else, they were Americans to the core.

Behind every headstone there is a story. Some stories tell of harrowing war time experiences while others may be less exciting but every bit as important to maintaining our nation's security. These are stories of duty, honor, and selfless service. These are stories deserving of our respect and admiration.

Sadly, respect and admiration for our veterans is becoming something of a scarce commodity these days - especially on the left side of the political spectrum where rancor against our soldiers runs rampant. Imagine the disappointment our vets must feel when they are described as the foot soldiers of oppression or when it's suggested that they stand trial for war crimes - just for doing their duty to our nation. Imagine what it must be like for a veteran to witness Dick Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois, stand before the Congress and describe our brave fighting men and women as "Nazis."

Yes indeed, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our soldiers of today and the vets that came before them. If they hadn't been there for us, we wouldn't be here today. So take some time this weekend to remember our vets and thank those whom you may come across. If you do get the chance to visit Lincoln National or any of our other veterans' cemeteries, remember well that the people laying in those graves are the answer to Hillary Clinton's frantic, hate-filled inquiry, "What difference does it make?"