Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? Is it really important, or just sentimental?
To remember our fallen is to remember why they served. We are good at analyzing why our nation has gone to war, often identifying wrong motivations and reasons, with maybe a few good ones. But I think, at the deepest level, the average U.S. soldier over the centuries has enlisted to fight to preserve the ideals of this nation.
When you cut through the politics and propaganda surrounding a given war, you are left with the basic ideas that make this nation what it is: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We don’t always get the application right as individuals or a nation, but the bedrock of the U.S.A. is the idea that each individual has a right to live, free from oppression and able to pursue their dreams.
It is easy for us to get wrapped up in the everyday rat race, the hustle and bustle, the breaking news and fake news, the latest social media post, or the rain that spoils our vacation. Memorial Day is an opportunity to set all of that aside and think about what is important, to remember the privilege it is to live here, and to take to heart the responsibility we have in preserving our inalienable rights. These men and women served so they could hand those rights and liberties down to us. Let’s not ignore such an important inheritance.