"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
This Memorial Day, as we pay our respects to our nation’s fallen heroes, I think it is extremely important that we have a healthy dose of perspective. It is too often easy for us as Americans to take our many freedoms for granted; to not fully appreciate the immense privilege it is to live in the greatest nation on this planet. When we do that, we diminish the importance of the sacrifices that have been made to give us this blessing of liberty, and this honor of being Americans.
For that dose of much-needed perspective we have only to look at the brutal reality that many people live in around the world. In Nigeria we saw tragedy strike as the Boko Haram terrorist group wiped out a defenseless village. In Thailand we see a nation in turmoil as the Prime Minister was removed from office, which marks the third time this has happened in the last 8 years. And in Crimea we saw the people able to vote on the issue of annexation, but only as soldiers wielding guns stood over them at the polling place.
These are just a few of the many examples we can see if we look at the world around us – examples that should remind us of how fortunate we are to live in a nation that is a shining beacon of hope for the rest of the world. This is a nation built on freedom and equality and a profound respect for the sanctity of all human life. And on a day like Memorial Day, when we pause to honor those who gave their lives so that we might have these many blessings, it is crucial that we realize this great nation was not inherited; it was earned.
We must continue to work each and every day to honor those who have sacrificed to make the American dream a reality. They paid the dearest price because they knew there was no way of life more perfect than ours, nor any nation that better embraced and valued the freedoms necessary to give every man, woman and child the opportunity to pursue their dreams. So on Memorial Day we say thank you and we pledge to do all we can to make certain their sacrifices will have not been in vain. We owe our fallen soldiers a debt of gratitude we can never repay, but that should never stop us from trying to pay back this debt each and every day we continue to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I hope that your Memorial Day is a great one and that you pause to reflect with your family and friends about the heroic sacrifices made by our nation’s service men and women. May God bless you; may God bless our nation’s heroes; and may God bless the United States of America.
I am proud to serve on your behalf,
Gary L. Cross