Doug Smith: The silence of the fallen is deafening this Memorial Day.

30 May


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Doug Smith:  Historian and Social editor for Free State Patriot




Can you hear it? That stillness, so quiet it seems to pull the very air from your ears.

A quiet you only hear in special places. On the green at Lexington, on the slopes of Valley Forge. Shhh… Listen. It’s quiet now, it wasn’t then, when those names meant something. Listen to Vicksburg, to Gettysburg, to men, boys really, who labored in heat and noise, shot and shell, fear and pain, standing fast, standing firm, till they fell.

Do you hear them? At Chickamauga, at bloody Antietam, in the Wilderness. In Belleau Wood, and the Argonne Forest, in the now quiet rows of white above the beaches of Normandy where the Bedford boys and thousands more of the 29th Division finally hear only the wind flapping the Stars and Stripes, quiet now are the Higgins boat, the 88s, the MGs, the screams of the wounded.

In a low place with a glassy black wall in Washington, over 50,000 names hear the dead silence echoing. The rifles and mortars are quiet now.

52 Submarine crews no longer hear the depth charges, or the sounds of the hull caving in, just the silence of the bottom of the Pacific.

Its quiet today. Do you hear it? The sounds of battle and struggle are over. And a multitude of warriors are at rest, having given it all right up till they no longer could.

Men and women. Boys, mostly, less than 19, answered the call, and stood to in the fury and thunder of battle. And by the thousands, they laid down their young lives to defend the weak, the oppressed, the victims of bullies.

Today… they are quiet. Today… they rest.

So, listen. Hear that? No bombs, no bullets, no invaders.

Listen to the quiet they hear.

And remember them.

Bravo Zulu, brothers.


Doug Smith served our country proudly as a submariner on the USS Gato SSN 615, as Chief Petty Officer and was an Instructor, IT school at the Naval Submarine School Groton.  He maintains contact with many of his Naval friends and refers to the Gato as the “Best boat in the fleet”!



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