Thanks to the Summit Daily News for printing these letters in their Friday May 27 edition, and to those who took the time to write them.
Why we observe Memorial Day
A couple of centuries ago, a tiny group of British colonists defeated the mightiest military force in the Western world to wrest their freedom and independence from the tyrannical British crown. Those colonists created a unique form of self government, which derives its power from the consent of the governed. It had never been tried before, but it produced, in its first hundred years, a standard of living surpassing all other established nations.
In the following century, we the people observe Memorial Day every year to commemorate the military who fought and died in wars to preserve our freedom and independence. In that time, however, we have frittered away our freedom and independence.
With the best of intentions, we hire impartial specialists to decide how we should live. They establish rules to organize, supervise and subsidize our daily activities — all with borrowed money. They require permits to deviate and impose penalties on violators. These specialists are accountable to no one. We have irresponsibly burdened ourselves with an increasing load of restrictions, mandates, regulations, entitlements and humongous debt.
Referring to Civil War casualties, President Lincoln resolved “that these dead shall not have died in vain … that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” We the people must renew that resolution. We must regain the self-discipline required to govern ourselves and elect governments from among us who will actually live up to their oath of office.
Otherwise, our military dead will have died in vain and our free and independent society will become history.
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As we approach the Memorial Day holiday and the unofficial start of summer, I want to remind folks what this “holiday” is about.
As a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army, I am certainly more sensitive to the terminology “celebrate” Memorial Day, but let us all consider where we might be without the ultimate sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.
Not to put a damper on anyone’s fun plans for the weekend, but I hope that we realize Memorial Day is a time for us to honor and remember those who have given their lives for our freedom.
Lt. Colonel (Ret), U.S. Army