While we are celebrating our nation’s 241st birthday with our families in our traditional ways, let us not forget the principles that our founding fathers adopted when they grasped freedom from the tyranny of the greatest power on earth in 1776. Now, during our present time, our democracy is being challenged from within itself. We must hold fast to those principles and to the bravery they exhibited all those years ago.
Memorial Day is a holiday that usually marks the beginning of summer for most of us in the United States. Our children are experiencing the joyous last days of school before the long summer break. Some of us are traveling for the first vacation of the summer and those that remain home are planning the BBQ cookout.
Take a Moment to Remember
However, in all of our celebrating, let us not forget the reason for the holiday. Let us take a moment to educate the young people in our families about the significance of this holiday. Let us remind them of the sacrifices that were made by very brave men and women in order for us to have the freedoms that we enjoy in our country.
In my life, I have been blessed to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, VA and I have visited the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, HI. Viewing the many white crosses on the graves in Arlington Cemetery and standing on the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona which is the final resting place of war heroes were among the most humbling moments of my life. It made the cost of freedom very real for me. I think every American should make a pilgrimage to these memorials as well as others across our country as a way to acknowledge the journey of our heroic warriors.
Find a Way to Honor
This year I have found a new way to honor our fallen heroes. While watching my local news station, they mentioned an organization “Bugles Across America” (http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org) which is a not-for-profit organization that provides live renditions of Taps by a bugler at the final services of veterans. This organization was founded 16 years ago and now has over 5,000 volunteer buglers. It is expected that 500,000 veterans will die every year for the next several years so this volunteer service will be helpful to the grieving families.
I have decided to make an annual donation to this organization as an active method to commemorate Memorial Day. I ask all of you to consider doing the same.
Happy Memorial Day!
Today is the 239th year since the founding fathers boldly “declared” into existence my country that I love so dearly. We were a fledgling group of colonies that banned together to battle the greatest empire of that day and now we stand as the greatest empire of this day. The journey from that day to this one has been joyful and painful. When we stand together and change the world we are joyful. When we separate and are divided on an “-ism” there is pain. The recent upheavals in our American society this past year alone is a glaring testimony to that fact.
In recent days, we all watched in horror in the aftermath of the deadly shooting of the nine victims in the historic Emanuel, A.M.E church in Charleston, S. C. where the shooter admitted he wanted to start a “race” war. He worshipped with the victims. He prayed with the victims. He shot the victims because of their race. Yet, what he intended to incite turned into just the opposite. We, the people, rose up together as one against this heinous crime. The Confederate flag, a symbol of the shooter and long associated with racial hatred, was removed from the state capitol of Alabama by the Governor in the heart of Dixie and major retailers will no longer sell the flags. I believe many hearts were changed by this painful tragedy.
Our country is only as great as its citizens and the actions they employ because of their beliefs. Because of recent actions, I believe the majority of us still believe in the words of our founding fathers when they wrote, “We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” I believe that the majority of us still believe that we, the people, must always seek and must always strive to form a more perfect union with one another. It is the American way.
We have lots to celebrate. We stood on the brink of non-existence 239 years ago because the founding fathers were divided on the issue of slavery and the equality of African-Americans. Yet, they found a way to unite and forge a democracy that would improve to allow us in this present day to have an African-American president – President Barack Obama. Some of the modern world’s greatest inventions were created in our backyard. An American was the first to walk on the moon. Our military is the greatest on earth. They have always stepped up, heroically, to defend our values and those of our allies abroad. Yes, we have lots to celebrate. So, let’s get to it!
Happy 4th of July – Independence Day – to all my fellow Americans!
I love y’all! (As we say down here in Texas).