On my fifty sixth Memorial Day, I need to be reminded not to forget the sacrifices made by my fellow countrymen. This is not a vacation day. This is a day meant for the hard work of painful remembrance. This is a day to slog through the mud of the battlefields, the searing heat of the deserts, the dripping humidity of the jungles, the icy snowbanks of wintertime battle fronts.
I do not want to forget what it means to get up each morning clothed in liberty, and fall asleep each night without fear. We are meant to cry this day, to weep over the loss of life over the generations, the losses in battles that continue to this day.
The cost of staying free must not bankrupt our souls even as it taxes our resources. Once we forget, if even one of us forgets, then the battle comes home, moves inside us, and we will never truly be free.
Today is a day for weeping. We shed tears of grief over who we have lost and continue to lose, and tears of gratitude for what they have given us through their shed blood.