This is a day that we honor those who laid their lives upon the alter of freedom and paid the ultimate price. Sadly, there have been many such battles and opportunities for this memorial in the timeline of the land that we love and call home. So many lives have been threaded into America’s quilt of our freedoms. So many families have been forced to live out their journey without precious loved ones…. husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. I am an heir to the fruits of all of their efforts….those patriots of the Revolutionary War, the determined hearts of the Blue and the Gray, the indomitable spirited warriors of the European wars, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, and now a faceless enemy. Today, as it was for all whom we memorialize, freedom is a rare commodity in this world. We tend forget, having been cushioned in its luxuries for the entirety of our existence. It’s all we’ve ever known. In the words of Ronald Reagan, freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We would be wise to take heed of those words.
History records what has been done on our behalf by the tides of souls having the belief they fought FOR all humanity in a preservation of inalienable rights. However, we will never know what these soldiers endeavors prevented from happening. We tend to forget or brush aside the vast amounts of what cannot be measured. For both the obvious and the obscure deeds, I stand in humble thankfulness. I will wade along the shores of a sea of gratitude to those I owe, knowing that it is a debt I can never truly earn or repay. I try to understand what they have done, but it is unfathomable to me how great their sacrifices. Their extreme bravery, whether those men or women felt it at the time or not, is incomprehensible to me. So it is with the utmost humility I offer my heartfelt thanks and a sincere desire to honor their memory.
The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves. ~ Ronald Reagan 1982