Monday, May 30, 2011

To Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

"Flags In" at Arlington National Cemetery
for Memorial Day 2008
Photo by Flikr User The U.S. Army
Used Under a Creative Commons License
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Traditionally, it is a day when we take time to remember the men and women who have died in military service to our country.

From 1776 through today, as citizens of the USA, you bravely answered your country's call to serve. As the daughter of a World War II veteran and a citizen of the United States, I am writing to acknowledge and thank each of you who have paid the ultimate price for my freedom.

It is difficult to write such a thank you, because I know you who truly should hear it cannot. Perhaps taking full advantage of the freedoms your sacrifices made possible is the best way to try and repay, if such an offering can ever be repaid, your lives which were given to make my way of life today possible.

Because of your sacrifice, I have been able to pursue my dream career in education. Not every woman in the world has been allowed to be educated, let alone become an educator.

Because of your sacrifice, I can vote and participate freely in the political process. I  have a say in how my city, state, and country are run. And I can let my elected officials know when I disagree with them.

Because of your sacrifice, I am able to freely write this blog and read the blogs of others, sharing opinions and exchanging ideas with colleagues around the world. Citizens in other countries are not as fortunate.

I often take these and myriads of other freedoms for granted. It is an enduring testimony to your sacrifice that I can live my life taking advantage of the freedoms you have paid for without a second thought.

The words "thank you" are inadequate and always will be. So I will continue to remember all you have done, all you have purchased for me with the price of blood you paid, and I will continue to remind others as well.

The poem below, written by one who knows of the life you lived, explains best what we all should acknowledge this day and every day in the USA.

It Is The Soldier
Charles M. Province
Copyright 1970, 2005

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Rest in peace, Fallen Hero, and know that your sacrifice is not forgotten.