Monday, May 31, 2010

lest we forget

Fifty percent of Americans consider Memorial Day as one of the nation’s most important holidays.

So says the Rasmussen Reports, a survey service.  The type of service that causes political operatives to have sleepless nights.

The number is not surprising.  For the past decade, the American public has had a very high opinion of the men and women who provide security for us. 

Especially those who have sacrificed their lives to defend our liberty.

That is what today is about.  To memorialize those who have died that we may be free.

I do not have any family members or friends who died in the service of liberty.  But I know the stories of those who did.

Young people who gave up promising futures in carers that would have paid far more than a soldier's pay.  Who gave up the opportunity to have a stable family life.  Who gave up a life that was self-centered.

And they all had their own reasons for making that choice. 

But they each chose to live in a profession where old, solid virtues were -- and are -- part of their daily lives:.  Duty.  Honor.  Country.

An old soldier once said of those three words: "They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid."

I was recently talking with a friend who freely admitted he could not understand the sacrifice necessary to be  soldier.  He wanted to know why the government did not provide soldiers with equipment that would prevent the death of our troops.

He is not alone.  There have long been Americans who could not understand why a person would freely give up the luxuries of American civilian life to serve in he military. 

I told my friend that my colleagues in he military do not feel as if they have given up anything.  They have traded their individual freedom for the good of what this nation stands for.

In the process, they also have made a bargain that their lives now belong to the defense of freedom.

Fortunately, most of them live full lives of honor.  But some are called to pay the price.  The price that freedom is not free.

As we go about or lives today, we should pause (if only for a moment) to recall -- to memorialize -- those who have died for us.  Deaths that allow us to lead the lives we live today.

Without their sacrifice, ours would be a far more brutish world.

To all of the men and women who have died in the service of their country.  I say thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.


Al said...

Well said. Thank you, Steve.

Tancho said...

It is unfortunate of how the military is treated. The best we can do is to honor them and give them the respect they deserve!

Nita said...

I had two brothers in World War II, both joined the day after Pearl Harbor. They felt it was their duty.

Leslie Limon said...


Gloria said...

...and that is why we have Memorial Day, to pay tribute to our men and women who sacrifice their lifes to keep us safe.
God Bless Them.
Thanks Steve, have a great week. Hope your ankle is better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the lovely tribute to those who service in our military and for our fallen heroes, both male and female. You are correct, freedom is not free.

We seem to have had someone in the military throughout our American history starting with the Revolutionary War. On Mother's side Joseph Rolfe, Phillip Amadon, Capt. Jonathan Howard Jr. and two others, whose names escape me at this moment.


Steve Cotton said...

Al -- You are welcome. And thank you for your service to the cause of freedom.

Tancho -- My experience is that the public truly honors the military. Having served through the 70s, I know that has not always been the case.

Nita -- When I was stationed in Europe, I visited the American cemeteries. It is quite a moving experience to see the lives that were lost.

Leslie -- Amen, indeed.

Gloria -- My ankle is coming along nicely. Thanks for your wishes.

Mom -- I apologize for first posting your comment as if it were mine. I forget which buttin to push -- now and then. It is good that I am no longer pressing weapon buttons.

Felipe said...

Well put, as usual.

Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- Thank you, sir.