We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
Such is the eloquence offered in the final paragraph of The Declaration of Independence.
Men like these
Over the years something would trigger a memory causing my father to bring up the names of friends who died during “the war” – World War Two. Eating watermelon on hot summer days, Dad invariably would recall the “watermelon bust” he and Murr Skousen decided to have at the expense of local farmer Brown in Chandler, Arizona 1931. Here’s how it went:
“The farmer finally caught us boys with the watermelons busted up,” he would say, “and made us work it off. But those melons sure were good,” he’d finish with a grin. Dad didn’t talk a lot.
I took notice of my father’s simple recalls of youth and the war, and would push him for more details.
“My family moved to California during the Great Depression, but Murr and I wrote letters. Last time I saw him was when I was twelve. He sent me a graduation photo from Chandler and I sent him one from Inglewood High. It was 1937. Hard times, but good too.”
After my mother’s death, my sister Janean, who’d made a trip to sort through our parent’s cherished items, shared a box of old photos and memorabilia—the kind that for some reason never make it to the photo album, but instead found homes on Mom and Dad’s dresser, desk or placed in special drawers for keepsakes frequently viewed.
I found Murr Skousen’s 1937 graduation photo in the box. “I’d like to keep this one,” I told her.
“Lots of luck, Murr—1937” he wrote on the simple photo of a young 18 year old wearing his Varsity sweater emblazoned with a capital “C.” Obviously the brotherly affection my Dad had for his friend was meaningful and evidenced by his careful keeping of this photo for nearly sixty years until his passing.
“He was a B-25 Superfortress pilot,” my father added. “I was still in Italy with the 1st Armored and got a letter from him that he had been shot down in China, wounded, but that he was okay. Later I got a letter from my folks saying he died.”
“How did he die?” I asked.
“No one knows,” he’d reply. Then we’d finish the watermelon.
Now, 2010, I have that photo on my desk, where I pay daily respect to Murr Skousen.
- Because it reminds me of the loss my father felt and brotherly love that existed.
- Because he was a young man giving up his life to save the planet from murderous tyrants.
- Because he died not only for America, but for me, a yet unborn son of his friend Grant Pratt.
- Because he never fulfilled his dreams to be a husband, father, and live a long fulfilling life.
- Because I want to be reminded daily that I have lived five decades and must not complain.
Murr Skousen gave it all for freedom and to safeguard America’s Independence and liberty.
“We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
There are wolves at the door. Incessant lying, corruption, “ruler’s law” mentality; all cast a long shadow across the land from our capitol named for our first liberator, George Washington. All that Murr and hundreds of thousands of others fought and died since the first Revolution are at risk. This, because as Edwin Meese III so eloquently stated:
Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.
Now you and I—who also live in the long shadow of men and women who kept their “sacred honor,” are called upon to safeguard the Republic the wolves would destroy.
I don’t use a bomber like Murr used, or an M-1 rifle like my father used to fight tyranny. I use words. And as I type these I also see the photo of Murr in front of me… and must speak to him.
So young Mr. Skousen, these words are for you with a promise. Thank you, for your complete and final sacrifice for America. You did not let us down. As God is my witness, I will not let you down now. I pledge this; my life, my fortune and my sacred honor!
James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling novelist and non-fiction author of nine work , CEO of PowerThink Publishing, public speaker, and Founder of Reagan Revolution 2. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. PowerThink proudly publishes W. Cleon Skousen’s bestseller, The Five Thousand Year Leap, 30 Year Anniversary Edition.