Dear Fallen Heroes,
I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sacrifice. Many of you left comfortable lives and the promise of a great career to serve your country. Some of you signed up to escape your problems at home. But regardless of why you joined or where you served, thank you for being willing to pay the ultimate price. You went to a land you had never seen to defend and preserve freedom for people you had never met. Because you gave up your personal freedom, America is still the freest nation on earth. Because you gave up your dreams, the American Dream lives on. And because you gave your lives, we can live our lives in peace.
Mostly, I want to apologize to all of you. On behalf of my country, and especially my generation, I want to tell you that I’m sorry for how ungrateful we are. We don’t value your sacrifice enough. We set aside one day a year to remember what you did, and then we turn it into a day to eat hot dogs and get drunk. You died so that we could have the freedom to speak our minds, yet we stay silent for fear of offending someone. You died so that we could have the freedom to elect our leaders democratically, yet we can’t even spare 30 minutes to stand in line to vote. We’re too lazy to use the freedoms that you died to preserve. We’re not worthy of your sacrifice.
Thomas Paine wrote that “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.” My generation hasn’t had to pay for our freedom; therefore, we don’t value it. I don’t think we truly understand or appreciate what you did. Sure, we take a few minutes on Memorial Day to tweet or post a picture saying that we’re grateful. But talk is cheap. Our actions show that we don’t value your sacrifice or the freedoms that sacrifice preserved.
But I pledge to you this: that we will go forward a more grateful people. That we will not forget you or your sacrifice. And that we will cherish our freedoms and do our part to protect them for the next generation.
Ronald Reagan famously noted that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction… It must be fought for, protected, and handed on – or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Thank you for fighting for and protecting our freedom. Sometimes gratitude is hard to put into words, but I hope that you know you are appreciated. We will never forget you.
A Grateful American