I recently found this piece about Memorial Day, written several years ago by retired radio talk show host Bob Logue. Its words ring as true today as they did when he wrote it. Pause, if just for a minute, to consider his words this weekend as you celebrate this unofficial beginning of summer.
"Chances are you wouldn't be sitting where you are right now reading this. Chances are you wouldn't have any freedoms at all. You may be speaking German or Japanese. Your nation may be much smaller since it may have been split apart by internal strife in the War Between the States. Chances are you wouldn't have a talk show to listen to and participate in, because many governments wouldn't permit such an outrage as freedom of speech. Chances are the government would control the news media including radio, television, newspapers, and magazines and your news would consist of whatever the government wanted you to know - and nothing else.
"Chances are you wouldn't have free elections and the right and obligation to criticize your leaders when necessary, or a chance to participate in your government.
"Chances are you wouldn't have the right to assemble with friends, or those who have mutual concerns about how you are being governed. Chances are you couldn't worship freely and express your faith openly if you have one.
"Chances are this wonderful nation - if it existed at all - would be far different than it is without the sacrifices of veterans. Despite all that they have done for us; all the sacrifices, including many giving their lives, too many of us view Memorial Day as merely a three-day-weekend, or the first holiday weekend of the summer.
"Too little thought is given to the meaning of the day. Too little thought is given to those who sacrificed. Too little thought is given to how our nation, state, county, municipal government and school districts are being governed. And, worst of all, too few people even care enough to educate themselves about the issues and vote. Shame on us for being so unappreciative of how richly we have been blesses and how much others have sacrificed for us."
This piece was followed by a bit of history about Memorial Day:
"Memorial Day was established to pay tribute to those who died in the Civil War. As years have passed, the day has been expanded to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in all of our nation's wars. Danger to our nation doesn't just come from terrorists and other international enemies. Corruption, apathy, greed, selfishness and drugs are a few dangers that threaten our beloved United States of America today. On Nov. 21, 1864, Abraham Lincoln expressed his deeply felt fear: 'I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, and an era or corruption in high places will follow. The money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all the wealth is aggregated in a few hands. And the Republic is destroyed.' Lincoln's prophetic words describe our United States political system today. Isn't it sad? What are YOU going to do to correct it?"
Enjoy your weekend, but pause to remember as well. Happy Memorial Day!