I find myself thinking about Memorial Day this morning and I am amazed at how many people confuse it with Veterans Day or simply have no idea what Memorial Day is about. I used to say to people “Happy Memorial Day” but it is not a happy day, it is a solemn day. Memorial Day is the day that we remember, and morn, and appreciate those members of the American Military who have been killed in combat defending our nation and our freedom. They have paid the ultimate price for OUR freedom and OUR way of life.
Our family will be remembering a young man named Adam Hamilton who was a close high school friend of both of our children. He was killed in Afghanistan on May 28, 2011 – ironically seven years ago to the day this Memorial Day. I am humbled by his sacrifice for our nation and that of all the others killed in action in our nations history. I have his picture on my wall right in front of my desk and I look at it every day because I never want to forget his sacrifice. I often cry when I look at his picture because I miss having him in our life like so many other American’s miss their loved ones. His sacrifice is visceral to our family, it is never old or forgotten, it is as real today as the day he died. It will be that way for me until the day I die.
A few years back I started putting together a chart showing the numbers of American soldiers killed in action defending our freedom from the Revolutionary War until present day. By my count, 1,320,053 soldiers have been killed in action since the Revolutionary war. People really react strongly when I give out that large number which I update each year. I find that updating the list each Memorial Day focuses my attention on the fact that the fight for freedom never ends. Freedom is not free. It must be defended in many, many different ways, every day, as you and I know all to well, including soldiers dying in battle all to often.
Too often American’s forget that. Memorial Day is the day we remember those who have made that ultimate sacrifice.
While thankfully none of you reading this has had to give your life for our country, yet, I remember every day that each and every one of you have given so much of your lives, your time, your effort, your money to defend our nation. I thank you for that personal commitment which honors the sacrifices made by those we honor today.
While I will not wish you a Happy Memorial Day, I will wish that you enjoy the long weekend, and I know that you will remember today and everyday those who have paid the ultimate price for your and my freedom and liberty.
We the People Convention