Memorial Day 2021: A time to revisit the American's Creed

Often, we forget that Memorial Day is a day not for merchandise sales or the unofficial start of summer.  Rather, it is a day set aside to honor those brave men and women who fell in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States armed forces. 

On this solemn day, there will be cemeteries all across the nation where loved ones will pay their humble respects and quiet tribute to a father, mother, sister, or brother.  The loss may be fresh, or it may be only a distant but still painful memory.  When I visit Arlington National Cemetery, I often see the tokens (flowers, stones, and photos) of remembrance left behind by those still grieving their loss.

Many Americans since the Revolutionary War have selflessly laid down their lives so that others may live — a testament that freedom truly is not free and often comes indeed at a heavy price and sacrifice.

My families' service goes back to Bunker Hill, where we lost two fathers in combat — we hope they will be the last.  Over the years, many of our young men and women were sent unprepared and ill equipped into combat by armchair politicians who have never served or seen, smelled, or tasted the horror of war.

While on active duty, I would frequently visit Walter Reed Hospital and see the human toll of war — men and women crippled and without limbs or mentally scarred for life, struggling to cope and make it to the next day.  It was never a pretty sight; many would turn away rather than face the reality of their pain and suffering.  I pray that their sacrifices will never be forgotten or taken for granted.

On this day when we honor their sacrifice, it is appropriate that we revisit the words to the American's Creed, passed as a resolution by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 3, 1918, as America was in the midst of the "War to End All Wars."

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

Remember those who died in combat on this sacred day wearing the uniform of this great nation, because without their sacrifice, we would not have the freedom that many of us flippantly take for granted.  Ensure that they did not die in vain, and honor their memory in your heart.

Image: Karen Arnold.

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