There’s no question that both the upstream and downstream segments of the U.S. petroleum industry have experienced some challenges over the past couple of years.  However, there is even less doubt that they have developed into perhaps the most competitive players in their respective sectors of the business.  We’ve written a lot about the factors that have contributed to these developments.  Certainly one of the most important of these factors, and really the foundation for all of the others, is the free market environment in which the petroleum industry operates within the U.S.  This free market, which is supported by a fair application of laws, support for private property rights, protections of intellectual property and many other important aspects, has allowed the industry to develop efficiencies and market advantages not possible in most other countries (even other developed democracies).  We will continue to discuss how these advantages are evolving and what they mean to the future prospects for both U.S. producers and refiners in upcoming blogs.  However, being that today is the day after Memorial Day, we have decided to once again have a special blog dedicated to honor the men and women who have given their lives to preserve the freedoms that make the U.S. such a great country to live and do business in.

Memorial Day has come to signify the end of school and the beginning of summer to most of us and we probably spent the long weekend indulging in fun activities with our families on the lake, at the seashore, in the mountains or simply in the backyard.  While all that is good, I certainly hope many of you also had the chance to participate in some of the events commemorating our fallen heroes.  If not or even if you did, I hope you will set aside some time today to reflect on their sacrifices and what they mean to the freedoms we enjoy.  To help you do this I have included three of my favorite Memorial Day pieces in this blog.  The first, “Decoration Day”, is by Longfellow to honor Civil War heroes and was published shortly after his death in the early days of the Memorial Day holiday when it was known as Decoration Day.  Although the Civil War seems like ancient history, it arguably shaped the current landscape of our nation more than any single event in our history and inarguably led to more war deaths (750,000) than all  other U.S. conflicts put together.  I recently visited the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi and would highly recommend a visit there or to any other Civil War battleground to get a true perspective of what soldiers on both sides of that conflict went through in support of their beliefs. .  .

“Decoration Day”

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest

On this Field of the Grounded Arms,

Where foes no more molest,

Nor sentry’s shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,

And started to your feet

At the cannon’s sudden roar,

Or the drum’s redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death

No sound your slumber breaks;

Here is no fevered breath,

No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,

Untrampled lies the sod;

The shouts of battle cease,

It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!

The thoughts of men shall be

As sentinels to keep

Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green

We deck with fragrant flowers

Yours has the suffering been,

The memory shall be ours.

We follow with a reprint of a more contemporary poem by Kelly Strong which really says it all in its title – “Freedom is Not Free”.

“Freedom is Not Free”

By Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.

It fluttered in the breeze.

A young Marine saluted it,

and then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform

So young, so tall, so proud,

He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him

Had fallen through the years.

How many died on foreign soil?

How many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down?

How many died at sea?

How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?

No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,

When everything was still

I listened to the bugler play

And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times

That TAPS had meant “Amen,”

When a flag had draped a coffin

Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,

Of the mothers and the wives,

Of fathers, sons and husbands

With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard

At the bottom of the sea

Of unmarked graves in Arlington.

No, freedom isn’t free.

Lastly, we include a link to a song by Timothy Irvin – “After The War” – which captures the spirit of brotherhood and sacrifice better than anything I have ever heard.  I would challenge anyone to keep a dry eye after listening to this anthem which recalls the sacrifices made by many during the Vietnam War.

“After the War”

By Timothy Irvin

Next week we return to discussing industry issues and developments.  In the meantime we hope all of you had not only an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend but also one which reminded you of the Fallen Heroes to whom we owe our freedoms and prosperity.

Copyright © 2021 Turner. All Rights Reserved.
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