Some Gave All
August 17, 2023
Ordinarily country and western style music doesn't trip my trigger, but in 1992 Billy Ray Cyrus released the song "Some Gave All" that really struck a chord deep down in my soul. As a Navy veteran of the late 1960's and early '70's many of my high school classmates and young men in my neighborhood were drafted and served in our nation's military in Vietnam. A little over half of them did not return alive, and several of the survivors recovered from their injuries in stateside hospitals. Some have never fully recovered.
Among the lines of the song that should strike deep into our souls are these: "Still many just don't understand about the reasons we are free. I can't forget the look in his eyes or the tears he cried as he said these words to me... 'All gave some and some gave all. Some stood through for the red, white and blue, and some had to fall. And if you ever think of me, think of all your liberties... and recall some gave all."
Before receiving a medical discharge from the U.S. Navy, I spent 5 months at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California. This was at the height of the Vietnam War and the wards and halls of the hospital were filled to overflowing with wounded Marines and sailors. I was never sent overseas. I was hospitalized to recover from exposure to poisonous chemicals at Mare Island. Even many years later, I sometimes have dreams of the wounded and dying servicemen whom I saw at Oak Knoll. I can still hear their moans and cries of pain.
The men, and a few women, of every generation of the Sunderland family have served in this great nation's military from its inception to it's present day. From the battlefields of the Revolutionary War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam to my eldest son who served in Bosnia and eldest daughter on a Naval base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, members of my family were willing to give all. Fortunately none were killed in battle. A few were seriously wounded and never fully recovered.
During the last several years as I watch the riots, violence and the vicious rhetoric against the foundations of our nation I am deeply sorrowed. Politicians from various levels of government seem to be doing their best to shame, ridicule and destroy the basic precepts upon which America was founded. In the process they take every opportunity to do the same to those who have served and who are serving the nation. Included in those who are serving you and I are those in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard, state and local police, and firefighters.
Yes, the men and women in our military and police forces are human. As such they (like you and I) sometimes make mistakes and do and say things they shouldn't. No one is perfect.
Unless you have experienced the stress one feels when under fire, or any other situation that puts your life at risk, you can never understand how we feel. We entered the service of our nation (that's you) knowing beforehand the risks we might face. We knew that we might be wounded and never recover, or we might get killed. We served to protect you anyway.
It is time for responsible Americans, regardless of political party or ethnic persuasion to put aside the petty points of disagreement and come together. We should join as Americans to do what we can to protect our history, our foundational precepts, and each other.
If we cannot do this, the future of the United States of America will be bleak. We will have no one else to blame but ourselves.
Even you and I, as we live in a small town in Nebraska can exert influence on our state and national representatives. Let us join as one to insure they do all they can to preserve our communities, state and nation as founded on the precept of responsible individual freedom. We may disagree on some things, but let us agree that the city of Sidney, the state of Nebraska, and the United States are all worth protecting.