Memorial Day’s true meaning

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day intended to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in war while serving in the armed forces of the United States of America.

All too sadly most of those who paid the sacrifice were young people who really never got to savor the benefits of freedom. They died for us.

Most of the people reading this piece had friends or family members who were killed on the battlefields of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. Those of you who are old enough to have had friends or relatives who died in World War II at least have the consolation of knowing their sacrifice was made in a war the public fully supported.

World War II was the last war that America, as a country, validated as a fight worth fighting. It was also the last conflict where the heroes who died received the proper respect of a country. We rightly salute those members of the Greatest Generation.

But, the sad truth is that the patriots who have fought the battles of the last two-thirds of a century didn’t choose their war – their country called and they responded. They fought valiantly, but were caught up in political fights at home.

Today, we’d ask for a special prayer of thanks and remembrance for the fathers and uncles who died in Korea; for the classmates and teammates who fell in Vietnam; for the brave souls in Iraq and Afghanistan who face guerilla warfare and improvised explosive devices . . . and who still die despite all of our technological advances.

We are an intensely blessed country. But our country – and freedom – is not possible without the generational sacrifices of a portion of our young. God alone knows why some live and some die.

But those who live owe an ongoing debt to those who are sacrificed. And Memorial Day is the day to say. “Thank you, thank you, thank you . . .”

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.