Freedom comes at a price. We all give up some freedoms when we live together in a society, sacrificing some of them for a “greater good.” It’s a commitment we make. For example, most people would agree not driving more than 25 MPH in a residential area when your car can go 120 MPH is not such a hardship; you should be willing to sacrifice that freedom.
And there’s a bigger picture: preserving and protecting the American Way of Life. What that means at its most rarefied levels – and this is not about having an arsenal in your basement or being able to yell “fire” in a crowded theater – is in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and in the evolving laws that attempt to ensure liberty, justice, equality for all regardless of race, religion, country of origin, and sexual orientation, etc.
Have things always been fair? Are things always just? Has it always been that way? The “more perfect union” of the Preamble to the Constitution that we’ve been striving for, well we’re not there yet but we keep trying, and as long as we remember to respect others, maybe we’ll get there.
At the beginning of the Preamble of the Constitution, we find these words: “to …establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense.” That’s our Armed Forces and the National Guard. They are – and if you’re a VET reading this – you are – what made and makes this noble experiment possible.
You’ve fought for and died for these principles and all too often in recent years under extremely stressful conditions, at times without the support of your fellow citizens. It’s worth quoting from the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
We’ve gotten this far and the only reason we’ll be able to go forward is because of your sacrifices. This should be remembered every day of the year, not only on Memorial Day. May you all find the strength to go on and be blessed with health and happiness.