“…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 the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
This weekend some Americans will barbeque and drink a few, some will be offended that we have rights they don’t like, some will burn flags, and some will steal across the border to join in. Then, there are others who will enjoy the holiday while remembering why it exists in the first place.
If you feel moved to thank a veteran today, be sure to choose the right veteran. The ones you need to address your thanks to this weekend lie beneath those plain white stones decorated with little flags. Take time this weekend to walk down the rows and read the names. It doesn’t matter whether you knew them.
They died without knowing you. They did this because America is something bigger than all of us. It is a spirit that we share. Those men and women lying in neat rows thought the spirit of America was worth preserving. They thought it was worth dying for. President Lincoln speaking at Gettysburg thought we owed it to them not to let their sacrifice be in vain.
School children used to memorize those words and pledge themselves to the country for which their fellow Americans gave their lives. That exercise has faded into distant memory, our history erased because it hurt someone’s feelings.
I can’t tell you if it hurts to die. It hurts to think of all the people who have died fighting for my freedom. And it hurts to wonder if that government of the people, by the people and for the people is perishing from the earth.
“Patriotism is supporting all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”—Mark Twain.
Sic Semper Tyrannis