05/28/07 — Their gift to us: For generations, heroes have protected freedom

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Their gift to us: For generations, heroes have protected freedom

There are thousands of them — men and women who gave their lives in support of freedom for families here and abroad.

Their service spans generations. There are the men who died in World War I and World War II, as well as the servicemen and women who gave their lives in Vietnam and Korea. And, more recently, there are the men and women who died in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War and now in Iraq.

Their stories vary — as do their backgrounds.

What they all have in common is that they are heroes — and that we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Memorial Day is traditionally a time for cookouts and pool parties. It is the unofficial start of summer.

But as we wind down from a day of rest and relaxation, we should take the time to remember those who gave their lives and their futures in support of the freedoms we enjoy today.

And the best way to recognize the sacrifices they and their families have made is to never, ever take for granted the gifts they fought so hard to preserve.

Not enough Americans are aware of just how much freedom means. They do not understand what much of the rest of the world knows — there is no guarantee that a citizen will be able to speak freely and live unfettered by oppression. That makes us one of the luckiest nations in the world and, sometimes, one of the most oblivious to just how good we have it.

Our memorial to those we have lost in freedom’s battles should be strength, courage and determination to respect and preserve the nation they died to protect — and to protect freedom at all costs. That is the least we can do to honor their sacrifice.

Published in Editorials on May 28, 2007 11:18 AM