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Memorial Day 2023 - Freedom is not Free

I have never served in the armed forces, but I have enormous respect for our veterans and for those  who serve now.  My father served for 39 months during World War II.  Fortunately, he was not placed in harm's way.  During that era, nearly every young male served joining together in an existential conflict between good and evil.  This experience bound the entire nation together in a shared purpose with shared sacrifice.  

Our nation so desperately needs an experience that will transcend our divisions to unite us as Americans.  Is there a moonshot out there that we could all rally behind?   Is there a leader in sight who can bring us together?  What if we could agree on our country's top 3 goals and then join forces to achieve them?

Hey wait, I have an idea.  What if a deadly pandemic swept across the nation that could have the potential of causing over a million fatalities?  Facing this common enemy, we would surely become united against a deadly foe that was striking wildly with abandon  Afterwards, we would emerge as one nation and would resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.  

Readers might recognize the italic phrase above taken from some brief remarks made by Lincoln at a battlefield cemetery. 

Back to reality.  That a pandemic not only put millions of us in hospitals, intensive care units, on ventilators and in cemeteries, but it also made us more angry at each other and more divided than we have been in decades. I still can't grasp this.  Alas, there is no vaccine against anger and hatred, although we desperately need one.

Union soldiers at Gettysburg who 
gave  the last full measure of devotion

On this Memorial Day we honor the fallen who have given their lives so that we can be free.  Let us also do our best to also remember and honor those who were taken from us these past 3 years.  We might reflect on an iconic phase in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, with malice toward none with charity for all... Our nation was even more divided then and yet was brought together.  Do we want to build bridges or blow them up?  So much malice.  So little charity.  Is this the best we can do?

Wishing everyone a meaningful Memorial Day.


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