Of all federal holidays, none is more solemn or as significant as Memorial Day. Increasingly, the purpose and significance of the day of remembrance is blurred in our society. As Americans, we all have a responsibility on Memorial Day to pay homage to those who granted us freedom with their lives.
It started with the 4,435 Americans who died in the American Revolution and it continues with 7,000 Americans who've sacrificed their lives fighting terrorism around the world since 9/11. In our near 243 years as a country, over 1.1 million Americans have sacrificed their lives for freedom. Our freedom. The least we can do is take a little time one day a year to honor their sacrifice.
After World War II and at the time of the official declaration of Memorial Day as a federal day of remembrance in 1967, approximately 12% of the US population had served in the military. For those who survived the Great War and the Forgotten War, they didn't need a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who didn't return home. Today, under 1% of Americans serve. It's become easy for the other 99% to take for granted the freedom they enjoy. Over 80% of the world's population still isn't free and the median per capita income outside of the United States is $2,920 per year.
Many in our society have lost perspective because they never had it, weren't taught it or simply place politics disproportionately above what's most important. It's important that we all do our part to ensure that we have perspective and share it with those in our lives. Freedom isn't free. It never has been. It's paved with the blood of more than 1.1 million Americans. Honor them and remember them this Memorial Day.
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