We are in an interesting position right now in our country. We are arguing about whether or not we should wear masks and social distance. Most of our arguments revolve around our Constitutional rights and how much authority our government has. Today I hope we recognize that all these rights, even the right to attack each other over face masks, have been protected by American servicemen and women who instead of name calling gave the ultimate sacrifice. When their generations were called on to sacrifice they stood up. Not all wars are equal in value, but all the soldiers who fought them are and deserve our respect.
American Revolution: 25,000 deaths
War of 1812: 15,000 deaths
Mexican American War: 13,283 deaths
Civil War: 700,000 deaths
Spanish American War: 2,446 deaths
WW I: 116,516 deaths
WWII: 405,399 deaths
Korean War: 36,516 deaths
Vietnam War: 58,209 deaths
Gulf War: 294 deaths
Current War on terror: 6,713 deaths
How can we honor them, I think Lincoln said it best with his most famous speech.
“We cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract…It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Each of us has to decide what it means to finish their work and we do it by how we live and by what we are willing to sacrifice. Don’t just say thank you to our fallen today, live for them. As Lincoln said don’t let them die in vain. For me personally, the little part I can do is wearing a mask in public. Not because the government tells me to, but because that is the least I can do to help others. It’s a small thing when you compare it to what my fallen brothers and sisters have done.
Happy Memorial Day! Today at 3:00 everyone has been asked to take a moment to stop and remember those that have given their last full measure. Hopefully with a divided nation, this day can bring us all together, just one more thing they have done for us.