(From Author: My Dear Fellow Americans, I originally wrote this piece in 2016 and have added a few changes and a video. It feels appropriate now more than ever. Please read to the end of the story, a dear friend of mine shared another one of his patriot videos “Remember The Americans” by Matt Fitzgibbon. Warning–disturbing historical images of War.)
I’d like to ask for a moment of your time to talk about Monday, May 30, 2018. The date may not sound remarkable, but it is actually one of the most important days of the year. That Monday is Memorial Day. Everyone loves and appreciates our brave men and women in uniform who never made it home, but not everyone really understands why they should. Of course, for those who have served and seen combat, no explanation is necessary: They know the horror of war. They have gone to bed at night wondering whether they would live to see the sun again. They watched the death and suffered the loss of people who carried no drop of their blood, yet were their brothers and sisters as surely as anyone who came from their mother’s womb. No one needs to tell these people why they should honor the fallen. They have seen too much to ever do otherwise.
For the rest of us, it may be impossible to truly understand and empathize with the sacrifices our heroes have made for us. Perhaps, that is to our benefit. But we can still honor all that they have done, by remember all we have that they have made possible. And that’s not just what’s obvious, like the right to vote in the coming presidential election. What the men and women in the military have fought for and preserved for us goes far deeper than that.
Consider what you do during a typical day. Do you go to work during the week? The place you work is safe, and the business you work for is stable enough to employ you, because of the military. Do you go to church on Sundays? You have the right to worship where and how you choose, to find God in your own way rather than how the government might prefer you to, because of the military. Will you have dinner tonight with your family, eating food that came from the supermarket? There’s a reason the farmers who grew that food, the truckers who delivered it, and even the cashier who rang you up are all able to perform their essential roles in peace and security, and that reason is the courage and selflessness of the military.
Yes, we are free to speak our minds publicly and maintain privacy in our homes against the government and work for whom we choose without coercion, because those are rights defended for us by soldiers, but what they do for us is so much more. We are able to live and function in our everyday lives, to do the smallest things necessary to make a living or just exist without being in danger, because we have people keeping us and our neighbors safe.
They do not always receive the appreciation they deserve. For putting themselves in potentially life-threatening situations that the rest of us may know peace. We have formally stated that defending our freedom – which, again, is not just our political freedom but our freedom to live – but our freedom to live in this great Country – the home of the free and the brave – Patriot Brave.
Memorial Day is an opportunity, as a nation, to remember and appreciate those who have died so that we might live … freely. The civil blessings of stability, prosperity and freedom we enjoy are a testament to the price they paid. As a Catholic, we remember those who have gone before and pray for their souls. Honoring the fallen is maybe, most important of all, Memorial Day can help inspire us to the greatest thing of which we are capable, by God’s grace: sacrificial love. Love that sacrifices for the beloved is divine and the only true love. We are more likely, in our turn, to love someone at our expense. At its best, Memorial Day is a civil and military echo of a profound theological truth: that God, “who is love” (), sacrificed Himself so that we might live ().
And Our Lord says to each of us: “Do this in memory of Me.”
With Permission “Remember The Americans” by Matt Fitzgibbons – “Warning” disturbing historical images of War