Sunday, May 30, 2010

They All Fought for All of Us

It is Memorial Day, the day we are to remember those that fought and died for America. It is interesting that the holiday has its roots in the Civil War. On the first Memorial Day (it was called Decoration Day then), May 30, 1868, the graves of soldiers that died in the War Between the States were decorated, in both the North and the South.

The Civil War was fought between families, friends and neighbors. Those that enlisted made a decision based on fighting for their country, on both sides. The people that would benefit from their sacrifice were not always just like them. Yet, everyone was honored, no matter their side.

Today, we have an all volunteer military. So those in the military enlisted because they felt the calling to do so. They, like the fallen during the Civil War, came from many different backgrounds. Poor, rich, educated or not. Men and Woman, of many different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. They are Baptists, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindu and many other religions or none at all. They are straight, gay, married or single. Most are citizens, a few are not.

They didn’t enlist to fight just for their own point of view. They didn’t enlist to protect the conservatives or liberals. They don’t fight for one religion or another. It wasn’t for the south, the north or western states. Like those that enlisted during the Civil War, they joined to fight for their country, setting aside their own personal stories and feelings.

This is where the honor we bestow on them should rest, that no matter their own background or personal point of view, they took up arms willing to sacrifice their own lives if necessary for America and its freedoms.

The next time we think that this country is home to just one religion, or political point of view, think of the men and women of the military. All of them fighting for all of us. Their backgrounds are as diverse as ours. If we think that this great land is just for one political view point, religion, or lifestyle, and denying a single right to anyone, we might as well be denying that right to anyone of them.

From all of us in America, we pledge to honor all of you, the men and women of the military for all you have fought for and will continue to fight for.

Thank you.

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