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On Monday we, as a nation, will celebrate Memorial Day.  The day means parades, cookouts, and amusement parks to most of us.  We enjoy a day off work to spend with family and friends at the cusp of spring and summer.  It makes for a wonderful time.

But, as you celebrate the day, I encourage all of my readers to take at least a few moments to stop and think of what the day means.  Remember, give thanks, and, if it is your way, pray.

This country did not come to be out of thin air.  It has taken the blood of patriots to build this nation.  I know there are many that think that the United States may not be the shining light on the hill that it once was, but I challenge you to find a place on Earth more dedicated to the cause of freedom.  And that freedom has been bought and paid for by the brave citizens and soldiers who have taken up arms in defense of the concepts of freedom and liberty around the world.

A day like Memorial Day, as focused as it is on the military, will draw a great deal of political commentary.  Politicians, activists, and commentators of every stripe will rail both for and against every conflict we are currently involved in and have been since time immemorial.  One side will rail that we have no business being involved where we have become involved.  Another will scream that we must intervene when freedom and liberty are threatened.  Still others will pound their drums and chant that American soldiers should not be dying in what are foreign conflicts.

I have one thing to say to all of them, to anyone who has these things to say: for one day SHUT UP!

I don’t want to hear about where, when, and how we should or should not be fighting.  I don’t want the hear about the political, economic, and cultural ramifications of action versus inaction.  We can turn back to the debates and te shouting matches on Tuesday.  For one day, a single 24 hour period, please, quiet the noise.

Memorial day is a day for solemnity, not continuation of shrill discourse.

No matter what you think of the conflict, whether you agree or disagree with our involvement, whatever your opinions on the motivations for our presence, put it all aside.  

Stop.  Remember.  Pray.

Men and women put on the uniform of this country every day and put themselves at risk.  They don’t do this because they want to.  They don’t want to be separated from their families.  They don’t want to miss the little moments and big events.  But, they believe that there are things that are worth fighting for.

These men and women don’t fight for a political party.  They don’t strap on boots and heavy packs and walk through territory that is hostile in every respect for some speech.  They don’t face the withering assaults of enemy combatants for a corporate bottom line.  They just try to make it through each day so they can once again hold their loved ones.

I have the deepest respect for American soldiers.  They sacrifice all to defend us.  And, for me, Memorial Day will be a day that I pray for the fallen and those still in harm’s way, thank those who have fought and returned home, and remember that being a true American can be difficult.

But that, my friends, is that makes us great.

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