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May 27, 2024

Memorial Day has become known as the unofficial start of summer, and Americans are more than ready to hit the beaches and parks to celebrate. But let’s not forget that Memorial Day means far more than that. It’s a day set aside to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to provide for us the unprecedented freedom that we so often take for granted as Americans. 

In a story that appeared a few years ago in the Epoch Times, veterans talked about the meaning of Memorial Day, and all of them made it clear that it isn’t about them but about their comrades who never made it back home. One explained the meanings of our military holidays by saying, “Veterans Day is for those who survived and retired. Armed Forces Day is for those who are still serving. Memorial Day is reserved for those who never got to take off their uniform.”

Last year, Fox News ran a story about an idea that I hope becomes a new tradition: “The Missing Hero Table.” When you gather for your Memorial Day barbecues and picnics, leave an empty chair at the table as a reminder of the missing hero who gave his or her life to secure our freedom to enjoy that dinner in peace, freedom and safety.

Despite the distortions of America’s history that so many people want to force into our schools, the fact is that no people in the history of the world have experienced the liberties, opportunities or prosperity that we have enjoyed as citizens of the greatest country on God’s green earth — the United States of America.  I don’t say that as a biased American, but as one who has traveled the world and who can scour the pages of human history and say definitively that no nation has ever given its inhabitants the degree of freedom, security, and pursuit of happiness as has this extraordinary experiment in self-government called the United States. 

Our Constitution is a simple, yet profound, blueprint for a government in which the ultimate power rests with the people and not with a king, a dictator, a military general, or even an elected official (and certainly not a self-appointed Deep State of unelected elitist bureaucrats.) The Founders expected us to choose only the most honorable people as our leaders, and once they were in office, watch them like hawks. Do you think we’ve been letting them down lately?

The genius of our nation is that the people have been vested with the highest power, and while we temporarily grant a small portion of it to those we elect, we must never give it away (even during a pandemic.) Unfortunately, our leaders often need to be reminded of that, which is what free speech and elections are for, and why some so-called leaders these days seem outright hostile to free speech and election integrity measures.

This great system of self-government with its separation and balance of powers and its accountability to the people has been and continues to be protected against both foreign and domestic threats by those who trade their clothes of choice for a uniform and who trade their personal liberties to accept orders from someone who outranks them. 

In the process of providing that protection, in wars and other police actions over more than two centuries, more than one million of those in our military have given their lives for those of us who will enjoy this long weekend.  No American should take this for granted nor ignore it.  It shouldn’t be left to the Gold Star families alone to take a pause for a somber reminder of the price of our benefits of citizenship.  We all owe it to them to show respect in some way for those whose deaths gave us our lives. 

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