Rush Explains the Meaning of Memorial Day

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KEN: As Rush pointed out so often, we would go over and fight for freedom, and then we would leave. Would say, okay, what can we do to help you set up the situation so it’s better for your people? We didn’t say, okay, we won, now we’re taking over. That’s not our thing. That’s what separates us from the rest of the world. Rush was involved in a number of charitable organizations that support the troops, support the cops, the firefighters, and the people that put their lives on the line. That’s why, it’s interesting, because conservatives, as I mentioned earlier, we look at that, many of us, in awe.

Because part of their job is to put their life on the line, and people will often say, “Well, it’s their job.” Yeah. But it’s pretty impressive. Every time, every day there’s that risk. And they do it to protect our freedoms and safety. The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation was one of them.

RUSH: I want to take a moment to mention our association with the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. I was there at a Rockville Centre, Long Island, home where the idea for the thing came together. A bunch of ex-Marines, FBI agents, and executives decided to start this foundation, which would provide college scholarships for the children of Marines killed in action. And this was back in the mid-nineties sometime. There’s a great, great bunch of people. It’s basically pass-through. Nobody is making a living running this charity.

The amount of money that goes through, I mean, the only thing that gets expensed, I think, is postage and a couple other things. Some golf tournaments here and there. But I mean nobody is earning a living. There is no executive director making a six-figure salary with an expense account or any of that. The money all goes to the recipients. Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.

KEN: And Rush just jogged so many great memories there for me. I’m sure you as well. I was a citizen member of the Marine Corps League for many, many years. And it was such an honor to be part of it as I worked with him as a member of media and as a member of the citizenry to raise money and do events with them. And I was invited to Washington, D.C., to watch the evening parade where the Marines are in Washington, D.C. If you ever have an opportunity to see that, if you want to feel the power of what they do. How they feel about America, how they feel about the flag, the evening parade is an event that if you can participate in it … I’m getting goose bumps talking about it now to you.

The photographs I got were incredible, and it’s quite a thing. They have this in a lot of different branches of the military, and I don’t want a Marine now to beat me up ’cause I just said that, please. I’m just saying that each branch of the military has a special thing that they do to showcase the greatness of their branch, and their love for America. And if you ever have an opportunity to be invited to one of those as a civilian, you vets know what I’m talking about, but as a civilian it’s such a… it’s so overwhelming. Because I think it takes something like that to remind civilians of what a special place the military has in our history.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

KEN: On this Friday before Memorial Day though, we’d like to revisit a phone call Rush took about the importance of understanding the meaning of Memorial Day.

RUSH: Ed, Winter Springs, Florida, you’re next on Open Line Friday. Hi. Great to have you here.

CALLER: I called specifically to talk about something Congress did that I’m proud of. I gotta reach way back, Rush, I gotta reach back 43 years, but in 1971 Congress passed legislation to make Memorial Day a national holiday. And, you know, June 6th, Rush, just two weeks from now —

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: — we’ll be recognizing the 70th anniversary of D-Day. We had 400,000 American veterans lost in the war to end all wars, and I just think it’s so important that we remember what we’re recognizing this Monday on Memorial Day. It’s not a barbecue day. It’s not a big sale day. It’s a day that we need to recognize and remember those veterans that fought for us and valiantly died so that folks like you, Rush, could exercise your First Amendment rights to free expression on the radio, because was it not for them, Rush, we’d be living in a completely different country.

RUSH: Well, there’s no doubt about that. When you talk about this, the 70th anniversary of D-Day, there hasn’t been anything like it since. So if you are 35, maybe even 40 years old or younger, it’s nothing more than a moment in history to you, if you don’t have any relatives who were old enough to have actually lived through it.

My dad, all of my friends’ parents fought in it or participated in some way; grandparents, too. So D-Day, World War II, Battle of the Bulge, those are all very real things. Hitler, all of that, was very real. It’s just a historical moment now for young people, like the Depression was a historical moment for me. I’ve gotta take a break, but I’m gonna expand on this point here when we get back.

When I was growing up — I was born in 1951, the great Depression was in 1929, 1930. I wasn’t even a — well, wait a minute. I could have been a thought in my dad’s mind. I don’t know. But 1951, 1929, 1930, there was no way that I could experience it, obviously. But growing up, my dad and my grandfather, I mean, it was one of the most formative events in their lives. It was the primary reason that my father had as his single objective for me that I get a college degree, because if you did not have an education during the Great Depression you didn’t have a prayer of getting a job, any job. And back then there wasn’t welfare. You didn’t eat if you didn’t work. You didn’t have a radio if you didn’t work. You didn’t have all the creature comforts that people that don’t work today have. So it was a must.

And the Great Depression also had as another formative aspect saving money. So growing up, I was inundated with, what if there’s another one? You must be prepared if there’s another depression. It was something so bad, it was so intense, it shaped their lives to such a degree that it was something they wanted to prepare their kids to be able to stand and endure, were it to happen again. So we were constantly reminded how bad it was. In the midst of abundance and prosperity and expanding economic times. The fifties boom and everything post-World War II was booming. And even while that was going on, my brother and I were constantly warned that the bottom can fall out at any time like it had back then. So education and saving money, we were drilled with.

In response, I said, “Dad, look, I’m sure it was bad. But I didn’t live it. All I can try to do is understand it. I can’t relate to it.” It didn’t work; he kept drilling it into me. Now, the point I’m trying to make here, we got D-Day coming up. Do you know, folks, that on D-Day, D-Day alone, the D-Day operation, we lost more Americans, slightly more lives were lost in that operation than we lost on 9/11, in just one day, one theater of battle in World War II. The Battle of the Bulge was deadly as well. But that, 70 years ago, when you try to talk to people that are teenagers, young adults today about it, it’s like Depression was to me. It’s something that happened way back then, but they can’t imagine something like that happening. People alive today, they worry about nukes and stuff, but a giant world war is something that they can’t relate to. It hasn’t happened in their lifetimes.

And this is why I think education’s so important. I think education is so crucial. Pearl Harbor is hardly even mentioned anymore, December 7th, the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor. It comes and goes. It doesn’t get much notice. Memorial Day, like the caller said, Memorial Day, the reason for it, fewer and fewer people know. It’s just the first real weekend of summer, three-day weekend and so forth, barbecues, what have you. That’s why I think education is important. I’m really glad my dad drilled into me these things that he had lived through and it helped me relate to him better and understand the things he thought were important and why he was raising me the way he was.

I have been to Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc. I’ve been to some of the places where D-Day happened, Normandy, the American cemetery there. I wasn’t alive, but I was close enough to it. And when your parents lived through it and tell stories, or won’t, as it turned out in my dad’s case. He would not answer very many questions about it, it was that horrible. He was in the China-Burma theater, flew P-51s. But kids today — and it’s no fault of theirs, it’s not up to them to have the importance of it realized. It’s up to us to transfer it to them.

So if you have somebody 30 years old listening to this program, this guy just calls, “You know, if it weren’t for that, you wouldn’t be free to speak. You might not have a radio show, or you might be speaking German.” They laugh at that. It’s just some old codger calling up with some old fears from the past. The country’s changing, thank God we’re not governed by people like that anymore. But that was his world, and that was the significance of it. And you go back through all of American history, the founding of this country is being treated that way now. The founding of this country is being treated as just an historical blip. In fact, worse. The founding of the country is being besmirched.

Memorial Day is one of these days, it’s been for a long time, people don’t know what it really is all about, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just part of natural human evolution. It takes effort, a concerted effort to teach people things that they can’t relate to ’cause they weren’t alive when they happened.

KEN: The content of that, like so much of what Rush said over the years, is really brilliant because it focuses right on where we are now, and that’s why it’s so important that on a local level we take back our schools.

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