Memorial Day Heroes
Yesterday was Memorial Day, and living in a country which last had to fight a war on its own soil more than a century and a half ago, we have a lot of heroes for whom we should be particularly grateful.
My ancestors have defended this country literally since the first permanent English settlement — Jamestown — was founded. Captain Thomas Graves, an original investor in the Virginia Company and my eleventh great grandfather, risked more than just his capital on what was probably the most speculative-imaginable venture of his day.
A founder of the first freely elected legislature in the New World (the Virginia House of Burgesses), Captain Graves also defended the early settlers from the ever-present threat of attack, whether from Indians in the forest or Spaniards on the sea.
Likewise, my fifth great grandfather General Joseph Martin explored Kentucky and Tennessee before Daniel Boone, grew up with Thomas Jefferson, lived next door to his best friend Patrick Henry, played a crucial role in winning the American Revolution, and helped ratify the U.S. Constitution. (Mel Gibson’s The Patriot is very loosely based on an amalgam of Joseph Martin and Col. Benjamin Cleveland.)
These men, and men like my grandfather Foy Evans, a B-17 navigator in World War II, and my father Dallas Martin, who served in West Germany at the height of the Cold War, are the reason we celebrate today. Whether or not they gave their lives, they put their lives between ours and the enemy’s. There could be no freedom without them.
Originally posted on Rod Martin’s website.