Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we, as a nation of free people, pay homage to those who have died fighting for the United States of America.

We have said this many times before on our editorial pages over the years, but it takes something special to sign one’s life away to the armed forces of the United States and to spill one’s blood and to make the ultimate sacrifice in faraway places.

Many of us cannot imagine the terror and the pain of such a loss thousands of families have faced with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We salute the bravery of those who served and who have died. We regret the loss of American lives in foreign lands.

We often ask ourselves, why do we put our soldiers, sailors, and flyers in harm’s way for others?

What does it get us?

In the Civil War, the Union was saved, and slavery wiped out. In World War 1, our intervention helped to conquer the Germans.

In World War 11 the bravery of Americans helped to defeat the Nazis in the European theater of battle, and the Japanese in the Pacific.

The warfare was savage. Our participation was a demand for a free people to remain free.

If it hadn’t been for American bravery, we might today be saluting the Nazi flag and the Rising Sun.

Korea and Vietnam caused us to sacrifice tens of thousands more brave Americans on battlefields ruled by politicians.

We won the wars. We lost the peace.

The political debate about when to go to war and when to leave, about when to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers, and when not to is a source of debate.

What isn’t a debate is the sense of sacrifice and loss we feel walking through the American cemeteries in Normandy, France, or walking among the monuments in Washington, especially the Korean and Vietnam War monuments.

The thousands of brave dead buried in Arlington National Cemetery should serve as an inspiration to sacrifice, duty, and honor.

This Memorial Day, American troops are being removed from Afghanistan, finally.

We are out of Iraq. We are letting the haters in the Middle East battle it out with Israel rather than get involved in hopelessness, again.

American resolve. American bravery. The American tendency to get involved in armed conflicts to keep our democracy alive and real and for democracy to flourish around the world is not going away anytime soon.

American sacrifice, American blood, and American bravery is what above all we should recall every Memorial Day.

That those who died shall not have died in vain is what Memorial Day is supposed to be about.

The brave dead cannot return.

At the very least, they shall not have died in vain.


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