There’s a song by Eleanor McEvoy that came out about 13 years ago called “Precious Little”. The chorus repeats the phrase:
Precious little in your life
Is yours by right
And won without a fight
I’ve always loved this song because those words spoke right to me in their simplicity and truth. Rights that we have were given to us. We were not born with them. And while we all might agree that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are basic human rights that we think everyone should have, not everyone does. Why? Because there’s always someone out there who is willing to take them from you for their own gain. This is why freedom is not free.
So how did America become so free to the point that we think of our rights as “God given” or somehow irrefutable? Because people who came before us were willing to fight and give their lives in order to gain the rights we have and then again in order to keep them. Had we not been willing to do that as a people and a country, it’s fairly clear that someone would have been happy to come take them from us.
Today is Memorial day. It is a day that was designed for us to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women in our armed services who have won and then maintained our freedom. They believed so strongly in those rights that most of us take for granted that they were willing to fight to keep them. They started the fight here in the United States of America (before it was the United States) and won our rights. So many gave their lives just to create this country. Then, their ancestors as well as countless immigrants who made this country their own, continued that fight. They took the fight to distant shores and many never came home, countless others came home but in a box and others with pieces of their bodies missing or forever scared physically and/or emotionally.
These people understood how precious our rights are as well as how fragile our freedom really is.
Like countless other Americans today I will spend time with family and probably cook on the grill, horse around and enjoy the day. But as the day started I found myself praying for those who fought to keep freedom for us and those who still do. I can’t thank them enough and words fail me to adequately describe how grateful I am.
Freedom is not free. You’ve heard the words enough now that perhaps it’s sounding rather trite. But like the chorus of the song the words may be simple but the meaning is deep and truthful.
If you truly appreciate your freedom, then thank all the members of the armed forces for their sacrifice and don’t let memorial day just be another excuse for a BBQ. Have the BBQ. Enjoy the freedom. Thank a vet.
My dad was one of the ones who landed on Omaha beach. He lived to talk about it. Funny thing is, he never really talked about it. Thanks Dad, I miss you.