Across America, families and friends, communities and their leaders — all gather to commemorate the fallen from America’s wars. Some have distant but vivid memories to honor, of ancestors and loved ones long passed. Others come with fresher wounds.
All have cause to know that the deaths of their heroes — our heroes — were not in vain.
As we remember today the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen who have died in our nation’s service, let us be grateful not just for their sacrifice, but for what it has meant to us. Our blessings as a nation have never been ordinary, and the prospect of them becoming even more extraordinary lies bright and awe-inspiring before us. Unlike any other great nation in human history, there is real reason to hope that America will once again beat the odds, and not tear herself apart, or buy a false sense of “peace” at the price of an insidious death by internal corruption and rot. There is real reason to hope for renewal and fresh dedication.
The strainings and groanings of our political atmosphere today are a far better sign of vitality and possibility than the false decorum of our old conventions. That decorum has papered over too much, for too long.
In historical terms, it is astounding that we have the opportunity now to see so clearly what our condition is. It is revealed to us a little more with each passing day — but yet it is still before the peaking of an existential crisis for our remarkable polity. There is still time to make orderly decisions, and achieve much with political courage, rather than force of arms.
What a blessing, to have the latitude for a time of national disjunction — anxious, no doubt, but necessary — and have it unpressed by existential threats from without. There is only one being who has more credit for that blessing than the American serviceman, and that is God Almighty.
The fortunes of a nation are written in the blood of its fighting men and women. As we honor the fallen on Memorial Day, we carry their spirits with us, as we carry their charge to us to vindicate their sacrifice, and do right with the opportunity they have endowed us with.