Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. For many of us it is a day to kind of kick off the beginning of Summer, a day of celebration, a day to spend with family and friends, and a day to enjoy a burger, a hot dog and a beer. While Memorial Day is all that, it is that because of what is at the heart of Memorial Day. The remembrance and honoring of those American's who have made what is truly the ultimate sacrifice, in giving their lives in service and protection of the United States of America, so that we might enjoy those simple freedoms that are so often too easily taken for granted.
Our country is not perfect and we have our faults as all people and all countries do. But I recognize that as an American I have enjoyed opportunities here that would not have been possible for me had I been born else where. The fabric of America and the ideals that we have tried to stand for and aspire to is made from that sacrifice. It's difficult for me to put into words the gratitude I have for the people who choose to defend the ideal of life and liberty for all, at the personal risk of losing their life and losing their freedoms. These men and women who have lost their lives have not gone into battle because they chose to die. They have gone into battle having made the choice to fight for my right to live. My right to celebrate the beginning of Summer time with my family. My right to have a voice, even if it differs from their voice. My beliefs even if they differ from their beliefs. Even (and some might even rightly say especially) our country does not always get involved in conflicts because of the "ideals" that America stands for as outlined in our Constitution. But most often, the people of America do. And it's not out of naiveté but most often out of a sense of duty. A duty to do honor to the American's before them who stood for the ideal America, however unattainable or unrealistic that ideal may be.
American Flag Picture Link
There are times when American pride might come off as arrogance or a sense of superiority. While I cannot speak to sentiments that run through everyone's veins, I think that the vast majority of Americans who express their pride openly and with a flair or exuberance do so not because one life is worth more than another, whether that life be born and raised here or born and raised half way across the globe from here. We express ourselves that way because we know that the things that we love and the opportunity we have to make a good, humble and honest life for ourselves and our families was/is born of the risk and the sacrifice that so many of our parents or siblings or friends and even complete strangers make. So beating our chests, shooting off our fireworks and singing our songs is the absolute LEAST we can do... it's the least we can do to say thank you. Thank you so very much to the men and women who fight for us. Thank you to the men and women who live and die for us. To the families of those men and women who suffer so other families won't have to.
Memorial Day was not originally called Memorial Day in the United States. But our day of remembrance honoring our military was born out of the Civil War that nearly tore our country apart. As such I wanted to share a choral performance by The Concordia Choir, Morehead, where they sing Three American Civil War Folk Tunes. I also hope that today, each and every American will take a personal moment of silence and consider and reflect upon the lives lost and be grateful and appreciative of those who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for us.