I’m not going to discuss the merits of the Dakota Uprising, as I believe in nearly every battle, you have supporters and those that disagree. There are certainly portions of our American History that I'm not proud of, but I believe every nation has gone through such dark periods. Regardless, over the years, men and women step forward in an effort to service their Country. Some step forward out of family tradition. Some because they see it as a way to support their family. But I believe that all step forward knowing that they might not return. In a matter of speaking, these men and women gave up their freedoms to be a resource for the country.
My own Lodge, Montgomery Lodge in Milford, MA, includes members that have fought in numerous wars, and was chartered by the Most Worshipful Paul Revere. We are named in memory of Major General Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War soldier killed in combat in Quebec, so although we are not a "Military Lodge", we do have strong military ties. As an aside, Major General Henry Knox Lodge would be a good reference for those seeking a Military Lodge. I know there are men in my Lodge that fought in the Vietnam War, and I'm quite sure there are men in my Lodge that protested that very same war. They are still Brothers, however, and treat each other with the respect due.
On Memorial Day for the last couple of years, after marching in the local parade, Montgomery Lodge opens its doors to the public and performs the Empty Chair Degree in memory of Major General Richard Montgomery. This has become a tradition that I hope will continue. Instead of focusing on the battles during this time, I prefer to focus on the men and women that gave their lives in service to their country. They had the bravery and courage to step forward, and ended up making the ultimate sacrifice. Remember them. Honor them. And the next time you have the opportunity to stretch forth a hand to assist, channel their courage, and make a positive impact in somebody's life.