Freedom is a messy thing. It is so messy it even means different things to different people. For some freedom means we are free to become who we were meant to be. For others it means we have a multitude of choices for where we want to live, what we want to own, where we want to go, and what we want to do. For others it means we can yell at the top of our lungs about things we do not like, and even go so far as to desecrate symbols like the American flag. For others it also means the right to object publicly and forcefully about such behavior. And in the end everyone is right. We are free in America to do all of these things without fear of government reprisal, control, or subordination. It is one of the greatest gifts our forefathers bestowed upon us.
One of the highlights of my career as a social worker was to serve as a contract therapist at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in the mid-1990’s, working with family of active-duty military personnel. I don’t think I ever met a group of citizens that I have ever had more respect for. Each day as I worked with them I fully understood the duty they had taken on, and if called upon, they would sacrifice their very lives in protection of our freedoms. I will never forget it.
Memorial Day to me is a very solemn day of remembrance for those who made this ultimate sacrifice. As Americans it is our right to agree or disagree with one another about the policies put forth by those elected to lead us.
But we must never forget the price paid by the sons and daughters of America to protect that right to disagree. We are a very lucky people, a very lucky country, and we are better off for the service they have given us all. Let us hold their memory in our hearts, and try each day to live up to the example they set. It is the very least we all con do.