Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: Thank you for your sacrifice

“Honor is the presence of God in man.”
― Pat Conroy

(daisy-blue63: photobucket)
Over 1.3 million men and women have died in military service to our country since the beginning of its history.  Very close to half of those people died during the American Civil War.

1.3 million sons and daughters.

1.3 million brothers, husbands, fathers, sisters, wives, mothers, friends.

1.3 million flags draped over caskets. 

Before my family begins its Memorial Day activities, I want to pause and remember why we're here.  There is a reason I can sleep comfortably in my cozy bed every night surrounded by the people (and animals) I love. 

Because of more than 1.3 million people who have died and the untold numbers who have served, currently serve and will serve in the United States military services, I have the freedom to:
  • say what I want to, in public
  • own a gun if I want to or NOT own a gun if I don't want to
  • keep my own home for myself and my family without interference from the government
  • be secure knowing that, unless I'm suspected of doing something really wrong, no one can enter my home without my permission 
  • have due process if accused of a crime and I don't have to say anything that might make me look guilty
  • have a trial by jury (boy, I sure hope I don't do anything WRONG anytime soon!)
  • be protected in the event that my home is searched and a jury has convicted me...I shouldn't be tortured in prison
  • have my rights protected
  • live in a state that has the right to make its own laws fit for its people 
Now I realize our country has its share of differences.  We squabble about this freedom and we strive for that freedom.  We have a tendency to put ourselves on opposite sides of the fence because sometimes I think we forget that what we ALL are, at the end of the day, is people.

Over 1.3 million people have died to give us the opportunity to bicker and whine and throw barbs at one another?  My guess is that every single one of those people would tell us to lay down our arms (figuratively and literally) and HONOR the lives they died to protect.

They died for you.  They died for me.  They died for my kids.  We all need to remember that.

Thank you to all the military men and women who serve in the face of grave danger to themselves and at risk of hurting their own families.  Thank you for putting your country first.  Thank you for the time spent away from home and for the many, many nights you have been alone without your friends and family and wondering why on earth you ever signed up for this thankless job.  Thank you for your courage and your honor and your service.

Happy Memorial Day.

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