At Jefferson Barracks, Arlington, Normandy, and Gettysburg there are fields of meticulously manicured green carpets that cover the final destination of our fallen heroes.
No one dares to ask these kindred souls if they are black, Hispanic, or Asian. No one denounces these warriors for studying the Torah, reading from the Koran or living the words of Matthew by doing unto our neighbors as we would do unto ourselves.
None who resides in these fields, will ever be dishonored for being gay or lesbian. None are separated by gender with a Miss or Mrs. or Mr., but rather are affectionately known as Serge, Captain or simply GI. None will be asked for a birth certificate or a green card.
Those who occupy every grave are ‘ours’ to venerate. We give homage to their service and grieve that all too many have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation.
It is here at Arlington, here at Gettysburg, here at Jefferson Barracks, that this nation lives out the fulfillment of Jefferson’s promise “that all men are created equal”.
Democrats are committed to that covenant, not just for those who sacrificed so much, but for all the living as well.
Interred in the darkness and silence, these heroes are forever blind to the abhorrent images of twisted crosses, lynchings, and white sheets. They are forever deaf to hateful denigrating language attacking their race, ethnicity, religion, or orientation. They are simply brothers in arms; and we, the Democratic Party, are, in their name, committed to work tirelessly to rid this nation of any injustice.
At these grave sites, we need to take inventory of our best images of this nation. Some “who gave their full measure” had not been allowed to go to our schools, drink our water, or dine with us. Yet, selflessly, they loved this country enough to lay down their life for it. It is for us to make sure their vision of a land open to all on a fair and equitable basis is fulfilled.
Some of these patriots have come to our country by surreptitious means. While they have not legally sworn allegiance to this country, their allegiance to their new land is branded in their hearts. It is for us, the living, to reexamine our ancestors own path here, and then to look more favorably on the words of Emma Lazarus to “lift my lamp beside the golden door”. It is for us to create a fair and just path to citizenship, in this ‘golden’ land, while penalizing the greedy employers who line their pockets by using illegal labor.
While in service to their country, for some entombed, their voices were wrongfully held silent to the question that could not be asked. Their hearts and bodies still spoke what was already known; they were just like you and me. They loved the same, laughed the same, cried the same and, most of all, loved this country the same. Democrats are committed to the equality of all, no matter their orientation.
As we salute or put our hand over our heart as a flag covered caisson draws by, we do not ask if they were a Democrat or Republican, Pro Life or Pro Choice, or belonged to the NRA. They are simply our sons and our daughters, now at peace, who made up the rainbow that is America’s unique pot of gold.