As we approach Memorial Day weekend I suggest that we try to remember what this holiday is about. From the War for our Independence (Revolutionary War) to the War of 1812, and the Mexican-American War, to Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WW I, WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, "Desert Storm" and now Afghanistan and Iraq (and I’ve left out ‘military interventions in the Balkans, Africa and others) many hundreds of thousands of Americans have served, fought, and thousands have died to build and secure this country. They fought under our flag and in service of the principles written into our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and its amendments.
We thank you Rick and Matt for your military service. We also honor the service of our Dad-Gramp, and Mom-Grammie during WW II.
In addition to those who have worn the uniform of our country, this day also should honor the thousands of patriots who put their lives on the line in support of our freedoms, and the growth and realization of those freedoms throughout the 300 year evolution of this wonderful Country. That includes particularly, but not exclusively those who fought (and died) for the realization of equal rights for people of different racial backgrounds within this country over the last 150 years (in the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 70s, etc.) as well as for equal rights for women over the same period.
Fully understanding and bringing the huge ideals that this great Country stands for into reality, and protecting them from internal as well as external threats is an ongoing struggle. We are all engaged in it in ever era. Today we are enguaged in similar struggles regarding immigration, and "social justice."
I pray that each of us will recognize the treasure that America’s ideals are. They are entrusted to us. The "light of liberty," including equal rights under the law, freedom of speech and choice, and the responsibility to choose and direct our own government was passed to us, purchased with blood and sacrifice, as well as with willingness to put the welfare of both Country, and our countrymen ahead of local and individual interests. We are responsible to keep it burning bright, and to pass it forward to our children.
From the signers of the Declaration and Constitution, to soldiers throughout the centuries, and to those who fight still to perfect our ideals, whether in the courts, on the streets, or at the ballot box, as those ideals are expressed each day in practice as our individual rights under the laws of our land; the Patriots among us all have shared one common trait. They have all been willing to compromise their individual interests, welfare, or even lives to the cause of Freedom, and the principles embodied in this great nation, the United States of America.
May we recognize that example, and be up to the task. May we commit again to showing ourselves worthy of this great but still imperfect legacy. That is the only meaningful way to celebrate Memorial Day, and to truly do honor the fallen, and all who have gone before us.
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