While it is true that I wish all my readers a Happy Memorial Day weekend, I also wish you a conflicted one, as well. There is a place for relaxation, family get-togethers and grilling. There is also a place to reflect. To think about our nation, our responsibilities and our soon-to-be 17th year of war. The bloody remains of soldiers lie in every cemetery in the area. Newer ones in Keithsburg, Wataga, and Monmouth. Older ones in every town and village. Our politics may be strained, and our country may see the ravages of slow decline, but the one constant has been the sacrifice of American youth.
They have always stood tall against the authoritarianism of the British, the Constitutional crisis of the Civil War, the imperialism of the Germans in WWI and the cruel transgressions of the Axis nations in WWII. From Mexican invasions to the Indian wars to Grenada the American Armed Forces have been a bulwark against those who change or destroy our "way of life", whatever that may mean to us as individuals.
Please spend a minute or many to those who have fallen, or sacrificed their well-being so that we may continue as a nation. In battles large and small, forgotten and remembered, in far-off lands or in places down the road, our men and women have given so much, sometimes all they have, for us and our children. We owe them our immeasurable thanks and appreciation.
Let's make them proud of their sacrifices and strive to be better Americans, kinder citizens and with a renewed sense of who we are and what we have created here. Not just on this weekend, but everyday.