Special Report

Saints in Armor

Reflections occasioned this past Memorial Day weekend.

By 5.29.08

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Here I am in my swimming pool in Beverly Hills, lazily swimming laps back and forth at midnight. I can see the stars above my palm trees and cedars. The dogs are loping around the back yard sniffing for squirrels. My wife is upstairs drinking the Cuervo Gold or whatever it is.

I am thinking about a conversation I had a couple of hours ago with my pal Phil DeMuth. He said that basically, what we had to realize was that our freedom, our prosperity, our opportunity, our rule of law, came from 19 year olds carrying around M-16's. He was quoting from a fine book called Grunts.

This idea is burning like wildfire in my brain. Here we all are, living like kings, living like maharajahs, and what's keeping us alive? Kids from small towns in Pennsylvania and Iowa and Wyoming and the Central Valley of California. And their parents and their wives and their kids, many of them now widows and orphans. I saw about a thousand of those wives and kids over Memorial Day weekend in Crystal City, Virginia, at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) event. If I had to pick the finest people I have ever met in my life, it would be the wives -- widows -- and kids -- orphans -- and Moms and Dads and husbands of those superstars. You cannot imagine the looks of pride and pain on their faces. Blessed of God, is all I can say.

No, wait. I have to include the men and women in Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Medical Hospital and Landstuhl and every other military hospital. Wounded in body, but as brave as they make a human being. Stars in the firmament of history.

When I am alone in my pool, I think of them, alone in their beds of pain. And not only them: How about the policemen and state troopers and highway patrol and sheriffs and prison guards? How about everyone who stands between the weak, pitiful good people and the strong, vicious thugs who want to kill us, rape our wives, take what we have? How about all of them getting some credit once in a while? How about thanking the police once in a blue moon instead of damning them?

There is simply not enough time and blood in this world to thank these people and their families adequately. It is not the President who keeps us free, not the Congress, not the press, not the courts. It is the men and women who offer up their lives for us.

God bless them and their hero families for all eternity. Just for today, I am not going to think about my own pitiful, selfish self for a few hours. Instead, I will get to the safest place I know of -- my knees in prayer -- to thank God for these saints in armor.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.