Rarely has Memorial Day had such true meaning as this year when our friends, neighbors, sons and daughters are at this very moment halfway around the world defending those of us who remain here at home. Surely for just one day we can set aside the philosophical differences on the war in Iraq and instead focus our attention and prayers on those who wage battle on our behalf.
We pause on Memorial Day to honor and remember those who have sacrificed in the name of democracy. They are heroes one and all. It's truly a shame that we cannot hold these heroes in honor each and every day. But one day of remembrance and recognition will have to do - at least from a public standpoint.
I did not serve in the military and thus, my appreciation comes not from direct service but rather from the recognition of the accomplishments of those who did. I value the freedom for which they served and fought and we are all beneficiaries of their sacrifices. But all too quickly, it seems, we view those sacrifices in a passing light with scant appreciation and even less recognition. And that's just flat out wrong.
I think today of the friends I have who today are away from home and family facing an uncertain future. Some are there by choice while others are there by duty. Either way these brave men and women are doing the essential work of freedom on your behalf and mine. At the very least we can pause in our daily routine and give thanks for their sacrifices. And believe me, that's the absolute least we can do.
I know it's just a fantasy but wouldn't it be ideal if during times of turmoil and strife, at times when our friends stand in harms' way, if the American public would stand united in support of those efforts? The world community needs to hear one American voice and that voice should be loud and clear - we support our efforts and we stand by the men and women who seek to accomplish this task. But alas, fantasy and reality are far different creatures. Instead the world hears voices of dissent from our country. And a willing media often gives stronger voice to those who oppose our efforts than from those of us who support our goals. By doing so, the media places additional obstacles in the way of those who stand on the front line of democracy. How utterly sad.
Stand tall and proud this Memorial Day. Give thanks and offer prayers. And sleep well tonight because someone, somewhere is defending all that we hold precious and dear. We hope the focus next Memorial Day is on picnics and vacations and the ending of school. This year however, our focus is clear and our resolve and determination should be equally as clear.
God Bless America.