"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
My Daddy was not a Medal of Honor winner like Audie Murphy, nor the survivor of a North Vietnamese prison camp like Jeremiah Denton. The closest he came to real action in WWII was the night a fleet of warships moved through the Panama canal where he was stationed as an Ensign in the Navy. He said everyone was issued a rifle and told to be at high alert as the big ships silently slid through the locks on their way to a showdown with the Japanese Navy in the Pacific. He was given leave a week or so before the rest of his shipmates because his mother lay dying in his hometown. He walked through the gate just moments after she had joined my Grandfather in eternity.
"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."Dwight D. Eisenhower
No, my Daddy did not have medals to show for his service to his country, but he kept the ships repaired and ready for those who did. A simple duty, but a necessary one. He is buried in the Veteran's Cemetery in my hometown, the place to which he moved to marry, start a family, and work to build a future for Mom, my baby sister, and me.
It's important to remember the cost of our freedom. It's important to remember the sacrifice of so many brave men and women throughout our country's history. It's important to remember those who currently serve.
In re-membering, we join them, and stand united with them in purpose and resolve. All of us together.
If we chose not to remember, we fall apart, just like other civilizations before us:
"In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all -- security, comfort, and freedom. When ... the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free." Sir Edward Gibbon
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." Teddy Roosevelt