It’s almost Memorial Day, and while I have lots of love and passion for veterans, I can’t figure out a single thing to say. I guess if I was a professional writer that would be alarming, but maybe it’s the perfect response. What really can be said? How do you summarize the collective sacrifice of nearly 1.5 million Americans in the pursuit and protection of freedom, liberty and justice? Hollywood has given us so many vivid and genuine pictures of what our country men have endured, and yet I can’t help think that no matter how vivid or gritty, or how crisp the high definition or representational accuracy, we will never truly understand the measures of courage, fortitude and strength it takes to fight in a war. Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember our fallen soldiers, may best be characterized from a place of speechlessness.
My parents met in the Coast Guard, my grandfather was in the Navy, my great-grandfather fought in WWI and my Uncle died on the beach in Normandy. For the better part of my life I thought that was why Memorial Day and all things Veteran were so close to my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s part of it, but I also love my freedom. I love that I have the right to peacefully assemble, to pursue the education, career and life of my choosing and participate freely in our political process. I love that today no man may own or legally interfere in the inalienable rights and pursuits of any other man. I love all these things and believe it is these rights, not necessarily our connection with a military lineage that connects all Americans to the weight and importance of Memorial Day. We’ve all been passed this amazing heritage of privileges and rights for which we did not have to fight and for which only one responsibility remains: to pass the torch, vibrant and blazing, to the following generation.
I know there is dissension and disagreement over our present circumstances. I know we don’t all see eye to eye about political, social, economic and military agendas. It’s okay; it’s part of the diversity and flavor of this country. Memorial Day is an opportunity to look above and beyond a particular administration and its agenda, beyond the vituperative political climate, the war of words and ideologies and focus on the real stars of this country. Our greatness is not in our politicians, but in the collection of people that make up you and me – working our jobs, writing our blogs, supporting our communities and putting our lives on the line for the ideals of justice, liberty and freedom.
Since 1775 brave men and women have been honorably responding to the need for liberty with a willingness to serve, not with malice, deceit or corrosive ethics, but patriotism, pride and courage. How can we not but honor their sacrifice?
This Memorial Day I will not only be thinking upon my own family, but on the collective sacrifice that has given so much freedom and opportunity to my own life.
Thank you to our soldiers, our heroes.