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The Meaning of Memorial Day

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

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

CALLER:  Rush, thank you so much for having me on.

RUSH:  You bet.

CALLER:  This is gonna be a different kind of call because 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.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: 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 withstand 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.

In fact, my sharp memory just reminded me that I've got something here in this Stack of Stuff about this.  Obama was at a fundraiser -- don't tell me I didn't print this out.  We’re having printer troubles today.  Okay, I'm gonna have to go back and get it.  Let me see if my memory can re-create this.  Obama was at a fundraiser yesterday or sometime this week and he was complaining about the founding.  And he was complaining that the Founding Fathers didn't know what they were doing when they apportioned every state with two senators.  He said (paraphrasing), "We Democrats happen to live in big cities like New York and Chicago and San Francisco and Los Angeles, and we don't have equal representation in the Senate."  He was complaining and whining and moaning about how unfair it is for modern-day Democrats the way the Senate was constituted.  He didn't even bother to tell 'em that senators originally weren't even elected by the people.  They were appointed.

Two senators in each state was a compromise the founders had to make. In order to balance out the way the House of Representatives was put together was based on population.  And states got the number of representatives they had based on the population of the state and where the population was, was where the districts were drawn and so forth.  But the Senate didn't matter. You got two senators no matter what the population of the state was, no matter what the demographics, no matter what the makeup, no matter what the geographic location.

Now, it was the Washington Times.  This is last night. “At a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Thursday night, Mr. Obama told a small group of wealthy supporters that there are several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and recapturing the House. One of those problems, he said, is the apportionment of two Senate seats to each state regardless of population.”

He said, “Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage.”  The way this all happened -- I'm sure you'll remember this from what you were taught in history.  “The Founding Fathers decided in the ‘Great Compromise’ in 1787 to apportion House seats based on population and give each state two seats in the Senate regardless of population. The solution was a compromise between large states and small states in a dispute that nearly dissolved the Constitutional Convention.” And that was the compromise.  And if that hadn't happened, who knows if we would even have a Constitution or a country.

So you can say it about D-Day, World War II, World War I.  The thing is, it all did happen. The founding of this country is being besmirched, it's being impugned. The Founding Fathers themselves are being excoriated as racist bigots and so forth.  See, Obama was complaining about gridlock.  And I happen to love gridlock.  I think gridlock is the greatest thing the Founding Fathers invented when it comes to the legislative branch.  You wouldn't believe how much gridlock has saved and slowed down the inexorable march of socialism in this country.  We have gridlock to thank for it.  And I'm serious.

Gridlock is when they don't get things done.  We've got enough laws.  We have enough supervision.  We have enough Nanny State behavior directed our way.  We have enough of the best and brightest thinking we don't know how to live our own lives.  Anything that stands in their way of creating more -- the gridlock, by the way, there's a bad sign to it, too.  All these agencies start just writing their own regulations anyway without legislation, like the EPA.  But that takes me in a direction I'll get to at another time on another occasion.

The point here is that World War II and D-Day particularly, these are crucially important events in American history and we're reaching a point in our evolution where more and more people are not gonna have -- it's not knowledge of it, but any appreciation.  That has to be taught.  That has to be imparted.

Now, when your parents live through something like that, it's easy for young people to grow up learning about it because parents impart it, teach it, inform.  But when you're young and the people you know have no direct contact with something like that, then it requires a much more studious effort.  And the effort, sadly, is not being taken.  So we've reached a point in our country's evolution where a lot of young people -- stop and think.  Somebody that's 18, 21 years old -- throw away the first six or seven years.  Let's say they start paying attention at age eight or nine.  What is their experience?  Their experience is Bush was rotten. Bush was Hitler. Iraq was wrong. America's military is a bunch of terrorists. The United States is destroying the planet with global warming and our advanced lifestyle and our SUVs.  Major corporations are the scourge of the earth, killing their own customers, poisoning their own customers.

I mean, it's just a litany, a never-ending litany of negative after negative after negative what a rotten place this country is.  That's all they've heard in the media that they've had, in the education that they've had.  That's it.  They don't know of an America victorious in war, beating back giant powers who had grand designs on dominating and destroying this country.  They have no knowledge of that.  They don't have the experience of living through it and feeling the triumph.  This is one of the reasons why I've written these books, by the way, for children, is to try get the truth of the founding. The Rush Revere Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans is just a little effort to have young people have some alternative view of the greatness, the uniqueness, the specialness of this country.

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.

END TRANSCRIPT

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