For most Americans, Memorial Day is nothing more than a day off work; an opportunity to do some work around the house, take a leisurely day off, or maybe go on a family outing.
There’s no special significance to it, other than not having to go to work.
But Memorial Day is so much more than that.
Since 1941, Congress established that the last Monday of May be reserved as an official federal holiday; a holiday specially created for those who have served and died in our nation’s armed forces. This day is about them, from those who laid down their lives at the battles of Lexington and Concord, to those who we lost in the two Gulf Wars.
Each of these brave men and women wrote a check to the United States of America, with the amount filled in as “anything, up to and including my life.” Each and every one of those checks have been cashed; not always for the full amount, but for some amount. As the saying goes, “all gave some and some gave all.”
So while the average American is cooking their hot dogs and hamburgers on the grille, America’s veterans are seeing so much more. They are seeing their friends and unit mates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
This isn’t just a day off from work, it’s a day of remembrance; remembering those who stood in the gap, giving their all, so that others might have freedom.
What Our Freedom is About
The United States of America is unique in many ways. Many of those first brave settles came here so that they might escape persecution and have religious liberty. This love of God and desire for liberty is enshrined in our First Amendment, granting us freedom of religion, the first of all our freedoms.
While the federal government has whittled away at our freedom over the years, imposing more and more restrictions on what we are free to do, America is still the land of freedom and we Americans enjoy more freedom than the citizens of any other country in the world.
It is the soldiers who have died, who gave us that freedom, not the politicians in Washington. While they would have us believe that our freedom is granted to us by the government, the reality is that politicians have no ability to grant freedom; merely to take it away.
Our freedom was granted to us by God, and the constitution guarantees us that freedom.
Freedom is so precious to America, that we export it to other countries.
We are the only nation in history of the world, who has regularly and unselfishly sent our young men off to fight other country’s wars.
Oh, there have been many cases of those who gone to the aid of another government to fulfill a treaty obligation; but only the United States of America has done so with countries for which we had no treaty obligations, simply to help give to other the freedom which is so precious to ourselves.
The American concept of freedom isn’t just about doing what we want, although it does allow much of that, it’s about not being told what we must do. We are not told what god we must worship; we are not told what we can say and what we cannot; we are not told what work we must do or where we must live.
America, and the American Constitution allow us to decide all of that for ourselves.
Were it not for those in uniform, we would not have those rights. It is our country’s military strength which keeps others from dictating to us; conquering this great land and imposing some restrictive form of government upon us.
Yet it is the internal threat which is greater today. There are always those who want to control, simply for the sake of controlling. They feel they have a right to dictate others lives to them. The USA is not immune to that. We too have those who would dictate to us; those who are convinced that they are better equipped to rule our lives, than we are ourselves.
To those people, the military is a threat; it is the ultimate trump card. One which can take their authority away, simply by their existence. For as long as mankind has existed, power has come out of the force of arms. Yet, while our military forces are subject to civilian rule, they are not blindly subject. Rather, our military serves with its eyes open, protecting and defending “the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Should there ever be a need for a second American Revolution, it is the veterans in our country who we will be able to count on to lead the charge.
From the militia groups that gathered to protect Cliven Bundy from an overbearing government and uncalled for aggression, to the two million bikers who rode down the mall in protest of Islamic terrorism, none of our veterans have forgotten their oath.
Many still stand ready to defend the Constitution, regardless of where the enemies come from.
So when we gather together today, whether it is around the barbecue grill or on the beach, we must remember those who have sacrificed for us. We must remember their dedication and sacrifice. Their willingness to give all to protect the rest of us. We must not forget their sacrifice or what that sacrifice has bought for us.
Today, veterans will don their old uniforms, digging them out of the attic. They will visit the monuments and gravestones of those who they served with.
This is their day; a day of remembrance, a day of tears. So when you see them walking in your town, stop and thank them for their service; for the sacrifice that they made and for their willingness to lay it all down, in the service of a higher good.
Truly, our military receives little thanks. They come home from their wars and are often forgotten. The Veterans Administration does a poor job of caring for them. Some die because of the poor care they receive. Others are shunted off to the side by society, left with nothing more than menial jobs or living on the street. They haven’t asked for much and they haven’t created a scene. That’s not their way. Were they like that, they never would have served.
That is why we, you and I, must speak out for them. Yes, we must thank them for their service, but we must also remind our government of our responsibility towards them. All too often they are the poor who are overlooked, while others who have given nothing, receive much.
War changes you. I don’t care who you are or what sort of personality you have, when you come out of war, you are a different person than when you went in. Yet many are looked down upon, because of that change.
What would happen if those who served had not? What would be the story of our great nation, without a great military to protect it? Would we be free? I dare say not. There are many who are jealous of our riches and our success. Some would surely try coming after us, to take what we have earned… were it not for our military.
So we each owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans, both living and dead. They have loved in a way which few love, being willing to say down their lives for others, if that was what was necessary.
As it says in the Bible, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Is that not what our brave veterans have done? Have they not laid down their lives, their dreams and their futures, as an act of love for our nation?
Perhaps these then are the greatest lovers the world has known. Not some actor in Hollywood or some playboy in New York; but rather, the quiet men and women who don our country’s uniform, willing to lay down their lives for us all.
I thank you veterans, of whatever war or even of peacetime. Each of you has given to this country, making it the greatest in the world.
Yes, we have our faults; but those are not your fault. You did your part and I am grateful. Now it is up to us to do our part; and I hope we are up to it. For the part that you have done has merely laid the groundwork for what the rest of us must do.
What is that? What is it that we must do? We must return America to her greatness. We must make the sacrifice that they made worth the cost. We must ensure that the American way of life, as enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights is not lost.
We must continue to throw off the yoke of tyranny and not allow others to enslave us. We must remain strong and healthy, so that as a country we are able to continue exporting freedom to the rest of the world.
We must be America, the last hope of the world. do you see any other way for our country?
This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.
Force Recon Marine | May 30, 2017
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag and the ungrateful can deny all this and malign others who have served in their staid.
Alan Jones | May 31, 2017
Way to go recon marine. Did you make this up – your words? Very well said. Can I pass this on? I love it. USN Retired GMCS(SW).
John Hatman | May 30, 2017
Thank you for expressing how vets feel. I was in the generation that got spit on.
I’m glad the American public can final separate the warrior from the war.
Again, thanks. Former member 3/75th, and 4/31st Infantry
Gail duff | May 30, 2017
Thanks for the great words you have published. I served in North Viet Nam with the 2/94 artillery just south of the DMZ from 67-68. We came home not as boys but as men. Totally changed as you have pointed out. If need be I will fight again to save my country! Thank you for your service!!!!!!!
Alan Jones | May 30, 2017
How graciously and lovingly presented. This article should be printed on front page of every news publication, and read aloud on news channels. I hope this country gets back on track with this new administration. “The people should not fear the government, the government should fear the people.” President Trump – drain the swamp.Get rid of all the toxins. Politicians – put your own interests aside and get on board. It’s sickening how some powerful people can break laws and get away with it. Start putting lawnbreakers in prison regardless of their wealth or past positions. There are so many examples it’s too numerous to list. Thank you from my heart to all my fellow veterans and their families. None others can even grasp the sacrifices made daily, and thank you Bill White. God bless America. USN Retired.
Grover | May 31, 2017
I took a solemn Oath on Nov 1,1957 to Defend the United States and its Constitution against all enemies Foreign and Domestic. Please be Advised that NO ONE has ever Relieved ME of My DUTIES under this OATH.
John Hatman | May 31, 2017
Your dawn right.