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Memorial Day Much More Than Barbecues and Beer

Memorial Day: that day longed for by so many as the official launch of summer, the beginning of a season of recreation, rejuvenation, and fun.

But Memorial Day is much more than that.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. The men and women who fought for America’s ideals, values, and foundations were fighting in fact for all oppressed and suffering people in the world, as they were fighting to uphold fundamental rights, democracy, and the belief that all people deserve to be free.

America’s commitment to human and civil rights is born from the blood of those who sacrificed from the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Gettysburg, the Second Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, the Battle of Huế, right up to Operation Hamkari.

In giving their own lives to protect America’s interests, they sacrificed themselves so others had the right to believe and the right not to believe; the right to speak their minds and the right to be offended; the right to assemble peacefully; and the right seek redress of injustice.

America’s Fallen bore the witness that democracy is not easy or passive; they demonstrated with their courage and their lives that democracy requires all Americans to be informed, to be engaged, and to be active.

We do a great injustice to the sacrifice of America’s fallen soldiers when we choose passivity and ambivalence. Our Founders were clear that for democracy to be a success, the people must be involved. And our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines on a daily basis take up the call of the Founders and of America’s Spirit to defend both the lives and liberties of the American people.

This Memorial Day, don’t just celebrate the beginning of Summer; also celebrate the example of America’s military and their desire to keep America strong, democratic, and free.

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