Stewart memorializes those who ‘more than self their country loved’
by Louise R. SHAW
KAYSVILLE—In visits to military cemeteries around the world, Congressman Chris Stewart said he has often been moved by the sacrifices represented by each marker.
On Memorial Day, he stood before a crowd gathered in the Kaysville Cemetery, surrounded by flags and flowers on gravestones.
He told those gathered that he often asks himself of those who died: “Why were they willing to do that?”
Stewart has an inside perspective on the military, having served himself in the Air Force, where he broke three world speed records as a pilot. He told of the comradery, the adventure and the dedication of serving with others.
Our military is full of people who are “young, exuberant, enthusiastic,” he said.
When men and women are in combat, besides the family and country they fight for, “what really drives them is the brother standing there beside them,” he said.
He told of a cemetery in Tunisia and young men and women who “died in places they’d never heard of.”
The land in North Africa is sacred ground he said, where 2,841 identified Americans, including four sets of brothers and “a half-dozen” from Utah are buried. Another 240 are unidentified, a spot marked by the words: “Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God.”
Stewart said a verse from the song, “America the Beautiful,” answers the question of why they were willing to give their all.
“O Beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,” he read, quoting the words of Katherine Lee Bates. “Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!”
People criticize him for talking about “American Exceptionalism,” said Stewart, but he uses the term not to say Americans are better, but because Americans have an exceptional responsibility.
“We don’t conquer lands, we set lands free. We don’t conquer people, we set people free,” he said, to applause.
“There is something incredible about this country, more than any country in the world,” he said, where we send off young people who “love mercy more than life.”
“I wish I could say the sacrifice of our soldiers is over,” he said. “I wish I could say we don’t need any more heroes.”
The world is not at peace and “if we don’t lead … no one else will,” he said. “We will always need men and women … God bless them, and you, and the families of our soldiers.”