What it means to live free
Memorial Day recognizes the value of sacrifice. On this day each year, we stand in solidarity and honor the brave who gave their lives for America — the land of the free. But what exactly does it mean to live free?
As Thomas Jefferson once wrote to a fellow statesman in 1787: “Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive in their attention. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves.”
Thus, a free country gives citizens a voice in government affairs and holds officials accountable to the public. A free country entails the right to express ideas without fear of legal prosecution. A free country is not held under the oppression of another, but is selfgoverning. A free country advances human rights, like freedom of speech, religion and assembly, without state intervention. A free country gives equal opportunities like access to education to all its citizens, and allows them to create their own success.
Why do countries go to war? To expand human values like liberty and to act against aggressors who threaten such ideals, for one. America’s armed forces ensure the freedoms enshrined in the country’s age-old Bill of Rights are upheld and protected against foreign threat. Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember the fallen for their noble service in preserving peace and prosperity, protecting international humanitarian law and freeing countless people from a cycle of fear.
On May 25, pay tribute to soldiers lost at war by observing a moment of silence, decorating a grave or flying your flag at half-mast.