I am a lucky woman. With a British husband, I had the opportunity to live in England and immigrate to Canada, to travel extensively before re-settling in Arizona ten years ago. While I wouldn’t change that for the world, during my ex-pat days, my heart and soul was in my beloved US. I grasped life fully in other countries, respected, learned and matured but I flew my American flag proudly no matter where I was. I celebrated my US heritage alongside my new Canadian citizenship; I confused everyone!
I am proud to be a citizen of what I still consider, the greatest country in the world. I’ve seen first hand the lack of freedom in other countries, the lack of voice and personal opportunity, the apathy.
I firmly believe though, that what keeps us strong in this country is remembering. We grow and we change, but we always remember. We remember our meager beginnings as we grow richer so we can help others. We remember past injustices so we don’t repeat them. We remember our enemies and the things they are capable of, so we’re ready. We remember the fear of losing what we have worked so hard for, so we stand strong to protect it. Most importantly we remember our men and women who gave their lives so that we have the opportunity to have the life that we remember.
We have generations who know nothing of what it took to build, to nurture the life we take for granted today. We are so lucky, on one hand, to have given that freedom to them. I realized when the North Koreans tested their nukes, and my 20 year old daughter was afraid to go to sleep, that we would be bombed during the night, we had given her generation a great gift. She grew up without the worry about Cuba and Russia and just waiting for a nuclear war to break out. How wonderful is that?! I explained to her that we’d wake to another day, and perhaps in the future, she’d have a little more fear in her about nuclear war, but we’d lived through it before and we’d sure as shooting make it through it again.
We do that because we are Americans. We do that because we know we have the best of the best serving to protect our rights. Have you ever considered that our wonderful soldiers (of all military branches) choose to do that? We don’t force them, we don’t draft and conscript them. They CHOOSE to put themselves in harms way for a nation they believe in. They REMEMBER that a nation is made up of people, not just a word “nation” but people with faces, hearts, lives, dreams and hopes. They choose to put their lives on the line so we have the future, and the FREEDOM to make those hopes and dreams come true.
The least we can do, the very least, on Memorial day, is to do our share of remembering.
I hope each of you has a wonderful Memorial day, basking in the best that our life as an American affords us, and remembering.