I don’t want to write a long, complicated or educational post today. Instead, I think I’m simply going to reflect and share a bit of my own story as it relates to Memorial Day.
I was thinking about it. What does “memorial” actually mean? So, being the nerd that I am, I looked it up in the 1828 Webster Dictionary and found this: “memorial” means “that which preserves the memory of something; any thing that serves to keep in memory. A monument is a memorial of a deceased person, or of an event.”
So, today, Memorial Day, we are preserving the memory of those who have gone before us and died while protecting or fighting for this great country. We are choosing to actively remember that people have fought and died for this country—something I wish we’d do more of everyday.
So, here are two topics to ponder today as we choose to actively remember those who have fought and died for the cause of liberty—for America.
America Represents Liberty
I think about many things when it comes to American history and the wars we’ve fought in. I think, how many wars, especially in recent history, have actually been fought for the “cause” of freedom, per se? I mean, very literally, the Revolutionary War, and to some degree, the Civil War, were fought with liberty specifically in mind. Liberty was the end goal or the objective of the war.
Americans fought to free Americans from the tyranny of British rule in the Revolutionary War. Perhaps the most famous phrase that encapsulated the fervor in that era came from Patrick Henry who said, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”. And during the Civil War, Americans fought Americans to free other Americans from the tyranny of slavery. So, in both cases the end goal, the end result of a successfully fought war, was liberty.
And yet, as Americans, we tend to hold the assumption that any war we fight in, whether it be WWI, WWII, the Korean War, or any others, we are fighting for the cause of liberty. This is because America represents liberty. So, we automatically assume, no matter what the ultimate end goal of the war, that Americans fighting and dying are fighting for and dying for liberty.
Now I’m sure if one were to press in and hear from individual American soldiers fighting in either of the world wars or any later wars, they’d have a variety of reasons to give for why they fought, some reasons being as simple as, they were fighting for each other.
Which is the beauty of America isn’t it? No matter our flaws or past or current wrongdoings (and no matter what people may want to contend or argue or slander), America represents liberty.
It just does. It represents liberty to itself and to the rest of the world. No other country has the slogan, “Land of the free, home of the brave”.
So, it doesn’t really matter why individuals decided to go fight for this country, because, by default of fighting for this country, they wear the emblem of fighting for freedom.
What a emblem to wear. What a cause to represent.
I’ve had the luxury of never fighting in a war nor have I lost any close relative in war. But my grandfathers fought. My mom’s father fought in WWII. He was part of the soldiers that stormed the beaches at Normandy and he fought in all five major European battles. Somehow, he survived, met a cute secretary, my grandma, married her and the rest is history.
My dad’s father fought in the Korean War and now has a purple heart for bravery. He was shot by a sniper. The bullet ricocheted off of something before it hit my grandpa. When it hit him, it hit his dog tag on his chest, which changed the direction of the bullet causing it to go up into his jaw and out of his mouth. So, a dog tag saved my grandpa’s life.
It is truly a story to tell and remarkable that he survived. I tell this story because I want to challenge y’all, and myself, to really grab hold of the gravity of what we are memorializing today and the real cost of liberty.
As I think on my grandpa’s story, I think about how precious a single life is, because in that one life, there’s the hope and the potential for so many other lives. If that dog tag had not been where it was that day, my grandpa would have died, and my dad, myself, my brother and any of my or my brother’s seed would have died with him.
Which brings me to the sobering reality that, while I am the blessed seed of a WWII Veteran and Korean Veteran who survived fighting for this country, how many men didn’t survive? How many men and women were never born because those who would have been their grandfathers and grandmothers died fighting for America?
You see, when our ancestors died fighting for us, for liberty, all of their seed, every potential life that could have come from them, died along with them.
Let that sink in for a moment.
War is a cruel and brutal thing. When we memorialize those who have gone before us, dating back to 1776, we must realize that every life that was given for the cause of liberty, was not just one life given but all their seed that could have followed.
So no. Liberty is not free, it is not cheap. It is weighty, costly and precious.
In this day and age when we are so blessed and spoiled with so much liberty, so much lavish, so much life, we must remember just how expensive it all really is. Even more importantly, as we struggle to comprehend what is happening as a result of this coronavirus agenda, we must remember just how quickly it can all be lost.
It’s time to ask ourselves. Are we willing to fight and die for liberty as our forefathers did?
Or will we just roll over and die?
The choice is ours. Let’s fight to make our forefathers proud.
The Liberty Belle