[Originally published at BackwardNC]
You probably know the sentence; it has become somewhat of a cliche. It's often attributed to Voltaire, but apparently actually was penned by his biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall. It's generally some variation of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
and people like me use it in debates to make a point about freedom and liberty. Cliche or not, it's a powerful sentiment; although European in origin, it expresses a uniquely American thought.
Then there is a special breed of people who don't just say or type those words -- they live them. They enlist in military service, and every single day, they defend -- to the death if necessary -- your and my freedoms. Not because they might happen to agree with our viewpoints, but just because we were fortunate to have been born Americans.
They don't check first to see if they agree with what I said before they go into combat to fight for my right to say it. They don't choose to defend only Republicans, or only Democrats, or only Christians, or only straight people (and so on) before they unquestioningly follow orders that could put them in harm's way. They go off to war, or to a potentially dangerous training exercise, to defend -- to the death -- all of the rights and freedoms for all Americans.
They really do, really did and really will defend people they don't agree with. They really do, really did and really will die so that we can be free. Because they really do, really did and really will care that much about America and Americans.
They're the men and women of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Today we salute them and honor them -- the fallen heroes and those who get up every day ready to defend -- to the death if necessary -- all of us.
Many inspiring and powerful things have been written and said on Memorial Day, and now is a good time to reflect on some of them.
And make sure that we say:
THANK YOU. GOD BLESS YOU.
[Related video at BackwardNC]