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Based on the Life and Times


         James McEachin

You are listening to “Voices”from the Benjamin Franklin Award-Winning CD, “Voices: A Tribute to the American Veteran.” Voices is written into  a significant scene of Call of The Purple Heart Full text is found below.


As an old soldier still moving for­ward with a bullet lodged between the ribs, I find it fitting that we gather on the deck of the USS Iowa for this tribute. Since days of old ships have represented the strength and the far-flung interests of nations. Known as the President’s ship, this 45,000 ton vessel, with a crew of nearly 3,000 young men served freedom in four wars. She earned 11 battle stars, was the lead ship in her class of battle­ships, and flew Adm. Halsey’s flag at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo bay. She was commissioned and decommissioned 6 times in her lifetime -- and though she is in dry-dock now, I dare say that if there was a need today this great symbol of American might would find a way to take to the seas again. She is like so many veterans I know. To a man -- young or old, hurt or not -- even dead or alive -- there is some­thing about each and every one of them who will tell you, there is no end to serving freedom... which is why on days such as this…

On days of remembrances past, I have borne in mind that last full measure of devotion of which Abraham Lincoln so eloquently spoke at Gettysburg. From shadowed lanes, from far-away roads, I have looked off and seen the symmetrical obedience of numberless headstones that stand like dwarfed sentries for the honored dead. I say to you, Mr. And Mrs. America, I say to your sons and your daughters; your young, your old; your rich, your poor; I say to all who are privileged to be within these borders, one cannot help but be touched by the price of our liber­ties, humbled by graves that stretch from coast to coast. On this day of tribute and remembrance, ‘lo a day backed by the trembling winds of yet another war, strident voices of doubt and dissent have pushed me to a place beyond the sight of graves and I find myself now moving along stark, sobering corridors, dedicated to the living who have sacrificed much for democracy’s cause. I find myself in a hospice for the Ameri­can veteran.

Swept amid remnants of wars old and new, the sor­rowing consequences of battle ever so evident, I pray, -- oh, how I pray there never again be this need for war; but if, in the final hour, war we must, let it be for the principles for which our forefathers stood, for the freedoms for which this God–annointed nation has been ordained to stand. Then when in observance of the toll of war, or whether in cer­emony of the great gifts of freedom such as we now gather, it is to those strident voices of doubt to whom I shall first look; and I will pray to my God that we come together, that we unite as one -- as the Americans that we are -- and over and over, and over and over again, we give thanks -- we give aid, comfort, and everlasting shelter to the American veteran, defenders of freedom. And holding dear the memo­ry of the dead and unaccounted for, I shall further pray that none among us forget those whom I see here in this place, and in walks and hospices the country over, those who once stood tall for democracy -- for the precious right to speak freely, but are now moving infirmly and oftimes without grace -- down the long, long, corridors of duty, honor, and gallantry, going their separate ways; silent of deeds and sac­rifice, yet ever and ever, in a special kind of way, still giving their all to say to us all:

“No veterans, no Democracy; no Democracy, no America.”