It has been my privilege to travel to dozens of countries around the world, some of you
have traveled less, and others like my father who has been in almost 100 countries, have traveled more. As I’ve chatted over the years with those who extensively travel abroad, especially to third world countries, there is a common refrain that I hear, “I’m so thankful to have been born an American!”
In years past you would hear that far more often than you do today. Unfortunately, for many, the idea of being an American is something that is almost shameful or at best we ‘should’ feel guilty because we’ve enjoyed such freedoms. This thinking lies directly in the attitude that we have more, therefore it must have come at the expense of others. This is an incredibly limited and naive view, and one that has almost zero fact based in real history. The United States of America has never entered a war as an aggressor or for the purpose of colonizing, like many countries did in the 1400’s-1800’s. Every war that we have ever engaged in was because either we were attacked or we were coming to the defense of others. Do I agree with all of them, probably not; neither do I agree with how each of them was conducted, but that is not the point here.
The freedom that was won by our forefathers did not come cheaply nor has it remained without great cost. This day, Memorial Day, is set aside, not for us to hang out with friends, drink beer, and eat brats (not bad just not the point). This day was set aside for each of us as citizens of this great country, to pause and be thankful. To be thankful for every man and woman that gave their life in defense of our country. This is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. This is something to be cherished and honored. Someone else, many someone else’s, gave their all so you could do whatever you are going to do today. Don’t stain their memory or cheapen their sacrifice by apologizing for the country they defended with their very lives. Are we a perfect nation, no…not by a long shot, but after traveling around the world and listening to those who’ve done so far more than I, we’ve got a lot more figured out then about 95% of the rest…and that ain’t bad!
Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to those who gave their all!