Today I sit safe and secure, as happy as I can be, surrounded by my family. Later, we'll head out to Indian Mills to sit in our lawn chairs and sip cold Gatorade and watch John play baseball.
We won't face a swirling sandstorm, or the potential of death at any corner from a roadside bomb or stand staring across a demilitarized zone wondering if today will be the day.
The freedom that we enjoy this leisurely Monday comes at a price. And that price has been steep over the decades. Farmers and shopkeepers fought and froze and died for years to give us our first tastes of freedom and create a nation. Cousins fought cousins as we neared our Centennial and struggled with the ever-difficult concept that 'all men are created equal.'
The first half of the 20th century found us fighting evil the world over as two generations came home from the world's battlefields burned and maimed, or stayed forever on foreign soil, symbolized only by rows of white crosses. We extended a hand to our former enemies and built trading partners who would stand on their own again. We constructed our missiles and our economy and stood by warily as the Soviet Bloc teetered and finally crumbled.
We're still there in Korea, accepting our role as the world's protector. In Vietnam, we felt our first real taste of defeat, as the limits of our power and our right to assert our will were demonstrated painfully.
Our most recent military excursions have been termed a 'war on terror' and we have gone where ever extremism has flared to fight for normalcy. And we have been burned on our own soil, attacked for being the best and the brightest and the most open society and the world.
And though every conflict, at every fort and river head, in the face of every kind of danger and peril, a valorous few have fought for that the many could live freely.
Today I thank you all. Happy Memorial Day , America!