Today is Memorial Day. It is the holiday that marks the beginning of another summer season. The school year is ending for our kids. In our gardens, the flowers are blooming. Most of us have plans to spend time with family and friends in some form of recreation.
Many of us will honor the purpose of this holiday by taking a little time to decorate the grave sites of those who have gone before us and to remember their roles in our lives. Most especially, we will reflect on the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives in the service of our country. We have them to thank for so much of what we now have.
I sometimes hear that it isn’t popular anymore in some circles to talk about the great achievement that is the United States of America. But never before, in the history of this earth, has such a large percentage of the population enjoyed the freedoms and prosperity that are trademarks of this great country. I don’t mean to diminish the great accomplishments of other countries, and I realize that there will always be room for improvement here at home, but our story truly is remarkable.
The achievements of this country, however, did not come without costs. Since the revolutionary war, our people have been willing to put their lives on the line for the causes of freedom and justice. This isn’t just empty talk. Nearly 1.5 million U.S. soldiers have died in combat defending our own and other nation’s liberties since our Declaration of Independence. If you count all war-related deaths, that number roughly doubles.
Charles Caleb Colton, an early 19th century clergyman once said, “Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty; it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.”
The struggle to raise ourselves to liberty never ends. It begins with each and every one of us understanding what freedom means and being willing to do our parts. In this struggle, our service men and women occupy the front lines. I am grateful that so many of them share this sentiment once expressed by President John F. Kennedy:
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending
freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it.
The great British writer, Rudyard Kipling, once penned the words:
All we have of freedom
All we use or know
This our fathers bought for us
Long and long ago.
That purchase of our freedoms did not, however, end “long and long ago.” It continues today and will be required for as long as we value the freedoms we have.
A very special thanks from all of us at Summa Energy Solutions to all of those who gave their lives in defense of liberty and justice. We can never thank you enough. God bless you!