Memorial Day 2020

It has been well reported that Adam Smith, one of the leaders of the ReOpen NC, Facebook group has posted a video stating that he is prepared for violence and murder to protect his rights. Presumably the violence and murder would be directed at duly elected officials. This is not acceptable and something that I condemn in no uncertain terms.

I am a 13th generation descendant of Edward Fuller. Edward and his brother Samuel signed the Mayflower Compact. While the Pilgrims certainly had their shortcomings, the Mayflower Compact was not one of them and marked an important milestone whereby people agreed to “bind ourselves together into a civil Body Politick” to which they promised “all due Submission and Obedience.”

On May 30, 1868 James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery at the first official Decoration Day. He said, in part,

“Peace, liberty, and personal security were blessings as common and universal as sunshine and showers and fruitful seasons; and all sprang from a single source, the old American principle that all owe due submission and obedience to the lawfully expressed will of the majority. This is not one of the doctrines of our political system—it is the system itself. It is our political firmament, in which all other truths are set, as stars in Heaven. It is the encasing air, the breath of the Nation’s life.”

Coming together peacefully in a system of government to enact laws that we willing live by is the hallmark of what we strive for. Or course, we Americans have not been able to achieve this at all times. But we continually renew our commitment to this goal every time we have an election and with every national celebration and observance. As Garfield said, it is the breath of our Nation’s life.

And, this is why today, on Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives for this Country.

Side note: at the time of his Decoration Day speech, Garfield was a Congressman from Ohio. He later became the 20th President serving from March 1881 until his assassination six and a half months later.