Memorializing some of the extraordinary men and women who died in the past year is a fitting way to embark upon the new year, writes Karl Rove
in his first Wall Street Journal op-ed for 2014.
Rove, a veteran GOP strategist, mostly singles out those who pulled themselves up from humble beginnings to become champions of liberty, freedom, open-mindedness, and entrepreneurship.
In the international arena, Rove cites Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for reversing her country's political and economic decline.
"Her leadership modernized and strengthened her nation. She stood up to militant unions, Argentina's military junta, IRA terrorism, and Soviet Communism."
He then commends South Africa's Nelson Mandela who served 26 years in prison yet emerged a supporter of reconciliation rather than vengeance.
He "cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities," Rove said.
On home ground, Rove recalls Texans Bob Perry and Harold Simmons as self-made men who "never forgot that from those to whom much is given, much is required."
Rove also memorializes four recipients of the Medal of Honor: Sgt. John Hawk and Master Sgt. Nicholas Oresko for World War II bravery; Cpl. Rodolfo Hernandez for fearlessness in the Korean War; and his valiant friend George "Bud" Day who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Tribute is also paid to Democrats who "worked across the aisle with Republican colleagues and presidents" despite being resolute partisans: Reps. Tom Foley, Ike Skelton, Lindy Boggs, and Bill Gray III. Rove also remembers New York Mayor Ed Koch as "a liberal who cut taxes and fought crime."
Finally, there was C.W. "Bill" Young who entered the House of Representatives in 1970 when there were only 29 GOP congressmen "from the Old Confederacy." At his death in October, there were 103.
"A respected advocate of a strong national defense, he not only witnessed the South's political makeover; he helped lead it."
© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.