Memorial Day 2021

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.   – Edmund Burke

Fortunately for the United States of America, from the extreme challenges of our founding, through two massive global world wars, and right up to the present continuing battle to contain and eliminate militant mid-east-centered terrorism, generations of patriotic men and women have not only done something, they have done something truly selfless and exemplary.  Through the course of battle, they have sacrificed their lives, so that those devoted friends fighting to the left and the right of them, their families, and all of their fellow Americans at home, might hopefully continue to live in freedom and peace.

Looking at just our foreign wars, from World War I to the continuing War on Terror in the Middle East, the number of Americans who have given their lives in combat, on our behalf, are reported to be at least 625,000. Thus, well over a half a million courageous American men and women have sacrificed their lives, and in doing so, for the vast majority of them, sacrificed, as well, their chance for marriage, children, homes, careers, and a life beyond, in order to ensure and preserve liberty and our way of life.  All of those lives lost is a stark reminder of the often-extraordinary price that the maintenance of freedom demands, both for our nation, and for those others in the world, whom we felt compelled to release from the grip of militant repression.  Said President John F. Kennedy, within an address broadcast to the nation back in 1962: “The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.”  As Americans have, indeed, continued to pay it, throughout the unbelievable 20-years, now, that we’ve been at war against the forces of terror within Iraq and Afghanistan.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, a time originally intended to honor those who perished in America’s Civil War, with that day of remembrance continuing through World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.  During the Vietnam War, that special day of honor became Memorial Day, later to be made an official national holiday by an Act of Congress in 1968.

Author and on-line contributor, Scott Powell, has written of this very special time to pause and reflect: “Memorial Day reminds us that U.S. military personnel are asked to put their lives on the line.  Defending the nation and fighting wars is the most serious and important job of all.”  And for that most important job, today, less than 1% of Americans are serving the nation in our military.  These committed, courageous, and skilled men and women are the very best of America.  Theirs is the task and mission to ensure that our nation remains protected from those in other parts of the world who might intend to do us harm.  Their primary responsibility, then, is to keep America and her citizens safe, secure and free, no matter when or where the need to respond may be, nor the ultimate price to be paid, in their life or well-being.

Back in 1834, in a speech to the United States Senate, Daniel Webster shared the following eternal truth: “God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.”  The brave men and women of America’s military have always been there for us, and God willing, will continue to do so, as they serve the very highest of callings.  A calling that can, in times of combat, demand the cost of their lives to keep us protected and our precious freedom maintained.

On this Memorial Day, but any other day, as well, please take the time to remember the ultimate price that American men and women in uniform have paid to retain our liberty, and to restore it for other oppressed, freedom-seeking people.  This Monday, especially, we pause to honor all those dedicated military members who have faced death, and given their lives, to help ensure the preservation of our blessed liberty.  We continue to live in freedom because of the noble sacrifices of the brave. May Almighty God continue to embrace those exceptional military service members, now residing safely forever with Him, as He continues to bountifully bless our cherished homeland, the United States of America.