• Jeff Powell

Remembering Memorial Day


Army Capt. Jonathan D. Grassbaugh 25, of East Hampstead, N.H.; assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died April 7, 2007 in Zaganiyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit. Also killed were Spc. Ebe F. Emolo, Spc. Levi K. Hoover and Pfc. Rodney L. McCandless. - 22 Paratroopers lost their lives during this deployment. This photo was found on iStock.


This Memorial Day, I would like to ask each person who reads this note to take a few moments and reflect on how great it is to be an American.


I know that we struggle with saying that lately, for all of the arguments, political division, social upheaval, and inability to find common ground, but I would ask that you honor the sacrifice of approximately 1.3 million men and women who have given their lives to defend the singular most powerful principle in our Nation: FREEDOM.


FREEDOM is the principle that makes us the greatest Nation in the world. The principle that brings hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to our Nation every year to become an American. The principle that puts a target on our back for every social misstep, every failure in compassion, every lack of empathy...but it makes us who we are...Americans and free. More so than in any other Nation in the world, in this Nation, we have the FREEDOM to be who we want to be in our lives. That struggle is more difficult for some than others, but from my own experience, where there is a will, there is a way.


In this Nation, more than any other Nation in the world, we have the FREEDOM to express ourselves and assert our beliefs in any way we see fit.


Even when times seem darkest, we have more to be grateful for than any other Nation. If you need proof, see the endless stream of humanity on our southern border not as a negative but as proof that this is still the #1 place where people will risk life and limb to live.


The men and women that gave their lives in defense of FREEDOM did not do it for today or yesterday; their aspirations were not for the status quo. They gave their lives for the future of humankind. Those men and women died trying to bring FREEDOM to the darkest corners of our world. They died so young girls could go to school. They died so that millions of people could vote in far-off lands. They gave their lives for innovation, change, and the growth of a Nation that has long been the beacon for those who crave FREEDOM, prosperity, and the opportunity to be more than their humble beginnings would have allowed.

On this Memorial Day, please remember that we are not out of words, unable to compromise, or cannot evolve as a Nation. There still is a middle ground; we need to reach out to each other to find it. We are a Nation of immigrants. Our forebearers came here with a dream...one dream...FREEDOM. Be the change in the world that you want to see…

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