Don’t Let Their Deaths, Sac­ri­fices Be In Vain

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - By Randy Moll

On Me­mo­rial Day, flags flew to honor the fallen heroes who sac­ri­ficed much and laid down their lives in de­fense of the God-given free­doms and val­ues we so em­brace. Many used their free­doms, de­fended by blood, to en­joy the long week­end and spend time with their fam­i­lies and friends. Some gath­ered in ceme­ter­ies and at me­mo­rial mon­u­ments to re­mem­ber the cost of pre­serv­ing free­dom.

Abra­ham Lin­coln, in his fa­mous 1863 Get­tys­burg Ad­dress ded­i­cat­ing a por­tion of the bat­tle­field as a fi­nal rest­ing place for those who had fallen in that great Civil War bat­tle, said: “But in a larger sense, we can­not ded­i­cate, we can­not con­se­crate, we can­not hal­low this ground. The brave men, liv­ing and dead who strug­gled here have con­se­crated it far above our poor power to add or de­tract. The world will lit­tle note nor long re­mem­ber what we say here, but it can never for­get what they did here. It is for us the liv­ing rather to be ded­i­cated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly ad­vanced. It is rather for us to be here ded­i­cated to the great task re­main­ing be­fore us — that from these hon­ored dead we take in­creased de­vo­tion to that cause for which they gave the last full mea­sure of de­vo­tion — that we here highly re­solve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this na­tion un­der God shall have a new birth of free­dom, and that govern­ment of the peo­ple, by the peo­ple, for the peo­ple shall not per­ish from the earth.”

Re­gard­less of one’s views on that ter­ri­ble war which once di­vided this na­tion, these words of Abra­ham Lin­coln still speak to us to­day and ap­ply to those from ev­ery state who have given their lives in de­fense of this na­tion’s free­doms and its con­sti­tu­tional form of govern­ment.

It is fit­ting that we re­mem­ber the great sac­ri­fices made by those who have fought to de­fend our land and our na­tion, but the great­est honor we can pay to those fallen heroes is not the place­ment of flow­ers on their graves or even the brief me­mo­rial ser­vices held in their honor each year. The great­est honor we can pay to those who lived and died de­fend­ing their home­land and our free­doms is to con­tinue their strug­gle.

These fallen soldiers went into bat­tle that we might con­tinue to have a govern­ment of the peo­ple, by the peo­ple and for the peo­ple. They shed their blood that hu­man life might be pro­tected; that we might live and have the free­dom to wor­ship and prac­tice our faith; give voice to our opinions and be­liefs; choose our own oc­cu­pa­tions and busi­nesses with­out govern­ment in­ter­fer­ence; keep and bear arms to pre­serve life, prop­erty and free­dom (even against tyran­ni­cal govern­ment); care­fully vote and elect our govern­ment of­fi­cials; and be free of govern­ment in­tru­sion into our daily lives.

If we don’t de­fend and wisely use these free­doms — if we don’t de­fend life, don’t wor­ship and prac­tice our faith, don’t speak up in de­fense of what is right, don’t take the time to vote and don’t let our elected lead­ers know the val­ues we want to be up­held — why did these men fight and die? Their ser­vice and their sac­ri­fice will have been in vain! If we aren’t will­ing to con­tinue the strug­gle to pre­serve our con­sti­tu­tional free­doms and the repub­lic which our fore­fa­thers handed down to us, how are we hon­or­ing those who fought and even gave all to pre­serve this na­tion for us?

Yes, on Me­mo­rial Day, it was good for us to take time to re­mem­ber the great sac­ri­fice so many have made to pre­serve for us our con­sti­tu­tion, our na­tion and our free­dom. But let us not let the mem­ory of these fallen heroes die there and be for­got­ten for an­other year. Let us carry on the strug­gle and work for that which they sac­ri­ficed so much and even gave their lives. Let us up­hold their val­ues and be­liefs and de­fend the prin­ci­ples and free­doms passed down to us by our found­ing fa­thers.

Don’t let their sac­ri­fices and their deaths be for naught!

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