We all love our holidays. For most of us, they are an opportunity to slow down and spend time with friends and family. They are rare moments where we get to stop and reflect, and in these tough economic times not everyone gets to be that lucky. More than ever, those of us who get to slow down are the exception, not the rule. But whether you’re spending the day at home with family or you’re at work with your co-workers, I ask that you join me in remembering our fallen soldiers today, Memorial Day.
Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, began shortly after the Civil War and commemorates U.S. men and women who died in military service. In light of the recent successes in our War on Terror, it becomes too easy to forget the price many heroes paid to secure our freedom and make these brief victories possible. In great celebration, we should also remember great sacrifice.
I have talked a lot the past few months about courage, and no group embodies that virtue more than those fighting and dying across the world for man’s freedom. Regardless of your political viewpoint, you must support and admire those engaged in wars and conflicts in the defense not only of our country, but also in support of oppressed people across the globe. With all the chaos brewing across the globe, there's no more important time to stand for man’s freedom, and U.S. men and women in the armed forces live that idea every day. As Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” I for one am strengthened by each and every soldier, veteran, and military family I have come across in my trips around this great country. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Traditionally, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the time when people, including me, begin to tune out. You spend more time with the kids and more time outdoors. By the time you get back on track in September the whole world could have changed. It's great to spend more time with family - but I challenge you not to unplug and to stay tuned in because freedom's enemies are certainly not taking the summer off.
I also challenge you to join me this August in Israel for Restoring Courage, whether in person or through other forms of support. I might be there with seven people or 7000 or completely alone, but I will stand and make a clear statement to those who oppose freedom. I hope you choose to stand with me, no matter your religion or nationality, because man's freedom isn't just an American thing, it's for every single human being on planet Earth.
Take today to thank our veterans, pray for the brave men and women overseas, and remember those who fell defending the right for man to live free. Let us be strengthened by their courage. And let's make it contagious.