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Happy Memorial Day!

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It is entirely proper that once a year, if not more often, we stop and commemorate the sacrifice made by those men and women who died defending our nation and our freedom. To many Americans – to too many Americans – it is a day off from work, a nice spring day for a barbecue, some time with the kids, to watch a ballgame. To those who have humped a rifle and ruck over long miles, fought sleep during the lonely hours of the midnight guard shift, worked their fingers to the bone to keep men and equipment fit and ready for combat, this day has another, deeper meaning – a more poignant meaning if they have also been in combat.

So we mourn the passing of our brothers and sisters, and we honor their sacrifice. They were the ones willing to give up everything, personal freedom and liberty, all future happiness and joy, so that we that followed them might enjoy their fruits. We say to them “the dead are not forgotten, we carry them with us forever, so that none are left behind.”

On this day, if not more often, we should also stop and ask ourselves “why did they die?” What was it that brought peaceful men and women out of farm and factory to die on a distant shore? Because their country called them, to be sure; and perhaps that is enough. But Americans have always been convinced of our own uniqueness, of a special destiny: and whether you believe in American exceptionalism or not, it is undeniable that this concept has suffused all of our conflicts in one manner or another, even our most disreputable affrays. It has inspired generations of citizen soldiers, who flocked to the colors not because some divine monarch proclaimed it, not because an oppressive state put bayonets to their backs. They went of their own free will and in the firm belief in the justice and righteousness of their cause.

They fought for representative government, not corporate interests:

first

They fought for Union, not party:

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They fought to overthrow fascism in Europe, not to practice it at home:

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They fought against totalitarianism and the police state, not to have their children meekly submit to it:

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They fought to avenge the murders of innocents, not to perpetrate them:

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Let’s not have our fear and apathy turn our nation into what we have always fought against. Let’s not forget what our brothers and sisters died for: a free Republic, of the people, by the people and for the people.

God bless you America: Happy Memorial Day.

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“Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.“

John Adams

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