Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have already honored us beyond measure. It is a day to cherish the gift of history, which they died to bring us.
Remember where our heroes fell, and why. The men and women we honor today were not killed fighting natural disasters. That is a deeply honorable and heroic service in its own right, but today is the soldiers’ day.
A victim is someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Today we honor men and women who were in the right place at the right time. All of history would have been different, if they had been somewhere else, in the hour appointed for their passage into heavenly grace and immortal memory.
The destruction of history is a weapon in the arsenal of tyranny. The first thing a despot does is re-write the story of how he came to power, and why his enemies opposed him. Inconvenient people fade from old photographs.
Memory is a weapon of liberty. We honor the past by remembering it in full. That is why it’s important to remember why the fallen heroes we honor today made the fateful choice to place themselves in harms’ way. Remember who they fought, and the dark purposes they opposed. Remember the desperate character of the hours in which so many of our soldiers wagered their lives on incredible bids to save their fellows, accomplish their missions, and win victory for the United States of America. Think upon the character of their adversaries, and the stakes in that terrible War Between the States, and understand that each victory for America was also a victory for the whole of mankind.
There is a reason why the graves so many of us will visit today are filled, and why the dates upon so many headstones cover such a short span of years. We honor heroes who fell in a noble cause. They would want us to remember that cause, and share their love of the country they died for.
The feast has already been set for Memorial Day, by the honored guests who can join our tables only in spirit. Those tables are covered with the pages of a valiant history. Each page would instead contain a list of sickening horrors, if the monsters of the world had been allowed to write history instead.
Today you will sit beneath a flag woven of reason and courage, industry and sacrifice. To see it the way our fallen soldiers did, you must remember how they died. Think of the homes they never returned to, and why they were willing to leave them. The only treasures they fought to claim were peace and justice. The treasury of our national spirit is rich with those priceless goods. In the study of our military history, we take full inventory of our wealth, and learn beyond dispute that we have earned it.