Memorial Day is coming, a time for remembering those who sacrificed for freedom.
Patriotism is one of the world’s most powerful emotions. It comes from the Greek word patrios, “of one’s father,” meaning love of one’s home or fatherland.
I was blessed to be born an American, am red, white, and blue patriotic, and deeply appreciate the founding ideals that defined America, i.e., life, liberty, freedom of religion, speech, mobility, enterprise.
But my love for my country does not mean I believe Americans are better than people from other countries, that we’ve always done everything right, or that our leaders past and present were always right. Critique is part of freedom of conscience and thought.
For me, celebrating Memorial Day is a form of gratitude. Freedom is a most precious gift, one easily lost.
Sadly, in the past eighteen months or so in our country, people have critiqued, or rather I should say attacked, not just policy but the country’s founding ideals, i.e., they have questioned the country’s very legitimacy, and even besmirched the names and legacies of those who sacrificed for the freedom we now enjoy and the potential available to all including those who dismiss it.
This full-on rancor directed toward America’s founding and ideals has been difficult to endure, and it presents some great dangers going forward if the pendulum does not swing back in a corrective fashion.
Calling for racial reform and progress are one thing. Calling for the institution of racist ideas and practices in the name of “anti-racism” is another. So, too, is arguing America’s founding was not about freedom but about slavery and white supremacy and that new “woke” ways of dealing with human beings (“critical race theory”) must be instituted in every aspect of American life before racial progress can be made. These arguments are not only inaccurate and ahistorical, they are pernicious.
Calling for “equity” rather than “equality” before the law is a bait and switch that demands sameness, taking from those who have earned and giving to those who have not, suppression of creativity, and a new definition of tolerance and inclusiveness to mean anything goes, especially if it is racialized.
Then, too, we’ve endured months of government overreach in the name of public health, restrictions on personal freedoms, even efforts to undermine the freedoms guaranteed to Americans in the First Amendment. Thankfully, some of this is beginning not only to abate but to be retracted.
So, in the face of all this it becomes both more difficult – sad and disillusioning – to celebrate Memorial Day patriotism, and it becomes all the more important to celebrate Memorial Day patriotism because the ideals, the fundamental freedoms and those who sacrificed for them, that this day commemorates are as important as ever.
Thank you, those who gave the last full measure. Long may freedom reign.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021
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