Saturday, May 28, 2005

Fingerprints of Freedom

School taught me Memorial Day was a day off. Life taught me what it really means and the significance in the last couple years has multiplied. There are faces and stories and dreams - some dashed, some fulfilled - by the ultimate sacrifice.

That the United States of America appreciates freedom on an unmatched scale should be no mystery, as our freedom wasn't won by proxy and the victory is still fresh in our memory. The youth of our freedom has kept arrogance from calcifying in our subconscious the fleeting memory of our fight and the necessary sacrifice that paved the path. When not defending our own freedom, we've been helping someone else fight for theirs, even when jealous resentment provided no lack of critics. Sometimes nobility repels company.

The will of our military is unbreakable, their commitment unshakable. The men and women of our armed forces all live in a place where personal interest succumbs to duty, where comfort is overcome by courage and valor resides in humility. Each dynamic soul and individual personality who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to this country have touched it with their Fingerprints of Freedom.

That spirit thrives as the Fingerprints of Freedom show themselves in our efforts around the globe, inspiring countries and peoples once moored to misery to stand firm and re-claim the heavenly gift no earthly force can take away. Fresh seeds of freedom around the world have been fertilized by the blood of American soldiers and the roots sustained by their spirit.

While we dedicate the 24 hours of Memorial Day to the memory of our fallen, our soldiers know no such casual commitment. Theirs is a daily way of life that unselfishly transcends jobs, relationships, safety and calendar as a means for the constant pursuit of liberty and those who wish to destroy it. While some suspend their lives for service to this country, many feel that when their boots hit the battlefield, they really begin living.

There is a special level of appreciation reserved only for soldiers who have given their lives for this country, and it can't be satisfied with a "thank you." Our best chance at adequately honoring their memory is to recognize that even the mundane moments in our lives were made possible by American soldiers willing to leave their Fingerprints of Freedom.

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