Monday, May 28, 2012

Absent Friends

Today is Memorial Day, and people all across America will be firing up their barbecues and getting their grill on. Someone, a visitor to our nation, once asked we why we 'celebrate' on this day. He pointed out that it might be better, and more appropriately spent, as a day of mourning, spent in somber reflection. It was my honor to educate him...

Memorial Day is the day in which we, as a people, remember and pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom and our liberties. Among these liberties is the right to peaceful assembly. Peaceful does not mean 'silent'. It means 'without violence or intentional harm'. We have the right to come together and celebrate anything we want. This is one of the liberties these men and women traded their lives for.  It seems disrespectful to us not to use that very liberty in their honor on this day that we have set aside for them.

It may seem crass or callous to some; to those who do not understand. But these people, these fallen heroes gave their lives so that we would continue to have the right to do as we wish, to spend our time with who we wish, how we wish.

To those who are younger who think this liberty is a given, that we are not in danger of loosing it, I say this... there was a time, not so long ago, when the loss of this liberty was a very real danger. This danger existed within my lifetime, and I remember it very clearly. It was before your time. Before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Before the fall of The Wall. It was a time when the more oppressive elements of communism threatened our shores, and consumed many nations. A time when many people throughout the world did not have the right to assemble in any number for any reason that was not approved by their State. They did not have the right to come together for a good cause, much less for the sake of food, fun, and sun.

This is what our fallen heroes, our absent friends gave their lives for.

Freedom from oppression.
Freedom to assemble.
Freedom from undo persecution.
Freedom of choice.
Freedom to defend ourselves.
Freedom to worship as see fit.
Freedom of speech.

In other words, their lives bought us (and many others) the right to party our asses off any time we want for any reason we want.

Today we choose to party in their honor. And if you have a problem with that, thanks to them, you're free to  leave.

Freedom does not come free.

To everyone else, don't forget to set a place for those we honor today, and lift your glasses for absent friends and those who died to give these rights us.

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