In the United States, Monday is Memorial Day — a day when Americans should pause and focus on the ultimate price paid by so many over the centuries to defend our liberty, our right to privacy, even our financial freedom.
In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by the U.S. Congress. But the origins of this tribute are found in the post-Civil War years when both southern and northern states began local commemorations of the more than 620,000 Americans who died from 1860 to 1865 — the greatest number of deaths in any U.S. war in history.
Yes, hang out our flag, start up the barbeque and cheer the parade. But more importantly, consider seriously the meaning and magnitude of the ultimate sacrifice so many have paid during the 239 years of our nation’s independence.
Memorial Day – To Die For
This day reminds us that each generation must continue the unending struggle to protect liberty. My father fought in France in 1918, my older brother flew missions in a USAF B-24 Liberator over Italy in 1944. Perhaps your family history is similar, with loved ones serving in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.
At the very least, the 1.3 million Americans who died so that we might live and enjoy our liberty and financial freedom deserve our prayerful remembrance and thanks.
There’s a phrase — “To die for…” In essence it means that some object or person is so enticing that the attractiveness suggests a feigned willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice to obtain it.
I wonder how many Americans today would be willing to fight and die for the liberties, such as financial freedom and right to privacy, we supposedly enjoy. And ask yourself — do we really still have those liberties? Or have they been taken from us, devaluing the sacrifice of those who died?
That raises the question, did they die in vain? In his eloquent Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln suggested that what we do —each one of us — will determine the answer to that question.
But too many seem unconcerned about the leaching away of our personal liberty and financial freedom. Too many stand mute while each new crisis serves as yet another excuse for politicians of both parties to ignore the Constitution and diminish the Bill of Rights.
It’s worth considering that in all the wars America has fought, including our own Civil War, 1,290,200 men and women died. During General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North, at Antietam in my home state of Maryland, in just one day alone, September 17, 1862, more than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or missing.
Memorial Day – Ultimate Sacrifice
To observe that so many have died in the American cause over so many centuries only accentuates the importance of the cause for which they died. They died before their time, their promise unrealized, and in the service of our country. Their sacrifice makes it all the more important that we guard against the loss of our liberty, privacy and financial freedom in our own time — whether the threat is from abroad, or from within our own government and nation.
Each of us always needs to be prepared for that unexpected hour of death, we know not when. The call to duty and service to country remains distant and unreal to far too many Americans. As a nation we need always to be certain that in any war, including the so-called “War on Terror,” our cause is defensible and just.
Remembering the fallen, on this Memorial Day 2015, pray that those departed may rest in God’s eternal peace — and that God will indeed bless America.
Yours for liberty,
Bob Bauman JD
Chairman, Freedom Alliance