War at its best has birthed and protected our American freedom. War at its worst has separated loved ones and often taken the lives of those serving. America annually sets aside the last Monday in May as a time of remembrance, memorial, and gratitude for these patriots who unselfishly gave the ultimate gift for our freedom.

From the early Minutemen to our present-day standing Armed Forces and National Guards and Reservists, men and women of committed patriotism have protected and defended our cherished freedom by their standby readiness and willingness of service.

America’s freedom was purchased and is still guaranteed by people of conscience from small towns, large cities, farms, urban communities, and many diverse occupations and abilities. The proud uniform of our country instantly sets them apart from others. Our honor and respect are due to them.

On this Memorial Day, we take time to be thankful and honor those who gave their lives in the wars of our national history. Likely none intended to be heroes, but by their performance of duty and giving their lives in so doing, they are heroes all. Most were not career soldiers but were transformed through hard work and dedication into the most proficient and prepared soldiers in the world. Add to the training the American inner strengths of purpose, dedication, and a patriotic determination, and a warrior of unequaled abilities is born.

Is it not fitting and proper that we honor our fallen protectors who have guaranteed, by their ultimate and unselfish sacrifice, our freedom? As we honor these contributors to the continuance of democracy, should we not also remember those left behind who cared, prayed, loved, and encouraged these brave defenders of America’s freedom?

We should periodically, with great respect and sincere gratitude, recall the words of our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ... And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

This national family that we proudly call Americans has not, does not, and will not forget these honorable defenders of our homeland who gave their lives protecting our land and freedoms. As the beloved Stars and Stripes crisply snaps and ripples in the warm spring breeze this Memorial Day, may we stand a little taller, be a little prouder, be thankful a little longer, and realize the inner pride of dearly purchased patriotism.

As a nation, we are not perfect. Likewise, as a people, we are not perfect. But these who have freely given their lives defending America have made it possible to endeavor daily to achieve, through mistakes and all, a caring, fulfilled, and productive society with the family-like union of spirit and purpose.

Julia Ward Howe, author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” may have said it best: In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on.

On this Memorial Day 2020, shall we, by our determination and pledge to the continuance of committed purpose, honor these our departed heroes and defenders of America. By their ultimate sacrifice and with God’s continued blessing, may we long remain “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Recommended for you