This is Memorial Day Weekend. It is a time when many of us celebrate some time off work with trips to balloon festivals, stock car races and cookouts with family and friends. There is nothing wrong with that. But, in our festive celebrations, we should take time to remember those who Memorial Day is meant for.
Memorial Day is meant to remember those who gave their lives in service to this country. Those who gave their lives came from all walks of life. Some were farm hands from Saluda, others where college graduates with big careers ahead of them. Whatever the background, whatever their future, so many of our young men and women gave the full measure of devotion to this idea of America on the fields of battle, from Gettysburg, to Flanders, to Iwo Jima to Iraq and Afghanistan.
From the beaches of Normandy to the sandy steppe outside of Kabul, we owe those who gave all for our country. Indeed, the world owes them, and frankly, the United States. For, in the annals of human history, no great power has sacrificed such blood and treasure to the cause of the freedom of others as the United States has.
The United States has its detractors today, even within it. Those detractors, for whatever reason, like for us to believe that those who died for this country died in vain. Some say they died in vain in World War II. Others claim they died in vain in Iraq or Afghanistan. Foes to freedom always try to belittle the sacrifice and accomplishment of those who fight and die for freedom. Such detractors have cold hearts disillusioned from reality.
As the Second President of the United States John Adams once said, “facts are stubborn things.” The facts show that the United States is the only world power in world history to sacrifice so much for the freedom of others. Those who have died fighting under the flag of the United States died protecting not only the freedom we in the United States enjoy, but to give freedom others. As such, those who died deserve the full respect and honor of the United States and the world they died to protect.
So, sometimes in your Memorial Day Weekend festivities, take a moment to remember and pray for the boy from Saluda or the boy from Inman or the thousands like them, men and women, who gave their lives for the freedoms so many enjoy. Each and every one of them died at the tip of freedom’s sword, fighting a world that would deny even the basic freedoms we embrace if it had its way. God bless those men and women who gave the full measure of devotion to the ideal of freedom. May we never forget what they done for this country and how they defined what this country is really about.
As a side note, for the editor's late uncle, VUI offers this video by George Jones about those who fell in Vietnam. Listen and think. Try to get it. That is the least you can do.