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Memorial Day Parade John Ritter JR ritter@interserf.net Something to remember on Memorial Day

Iwo Jima "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue."

What did they fight and die for...

Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding. And other men
who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her
blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and Whites, rich men and poor, together. Here are
Protestants, Catholics, and Jews together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him
because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among
these men there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy...

Whosoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother, or who thinks himself superior to those who happen to
be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery.
To this then, as our solemn sacred duty, do we the living now dedicate ourselves: To the right of Protestants,
Catholics, and Jews, of White men and Negroes alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them have here
paid the price...

We here solemnly swear this shall not be in vain. Out of this and from the suffering and sorrow of those who
mourn this, will come, we promise, the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere.

Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn (1910-95), assigned to the Fifth Marine Division, was the first Jewish chaplain the
Marine Corps everappointed. The American invading force at Iwo Jima included approximately 1,500 Jewish Marines,
and Rabbi Gittelsohn was in the thick of the fray, ministering to Marines of all faiths in the combat zone. He
shared the fear, horror and despair of the fighting men, each of whom knew that each day might be his last.

JR



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