This Memorial Day, Concerned Veterans for America remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. America's freedoms have been purchased on the battlefield; the least we can do is remember and honor them on this sacred holiday. And we will.
In this spirit, we invite you to read the following essay written by Jane Horton. Ms. Horton is a Gold Star wife, veterans' activist, and a Military Families Advisor for Concerned Veterans for America.
After you read the piece, visit our website to join Jane and CVA in continuing the fight for freedom.
Concerned Veterans for America
Enjoy Your Weekend -- It's Been Paid in Full
By Jane Horton
America, land of the free home of the brave: the nation where we have holidays to honor those who have shed their blood-blood that is woven into the red stripes on our very own national flag. Yet many see this day as an opportunity for an extra day off of work, a mini-vacation, or a barbecue. These are all incredibly great things because in this country, secluded in many ways from less free, scarier parts of the world, we have the privilege to turn our faces from the evil there because courageous men and women stand guard in the night for us. It is important to enjoy the holiday and the serene freedom that comes with the sacrifice of so many who have laid down their lives for our peace of mind and the American way of life.
Never could I have imagined that Memorial Day would be so close to my heart, or that the weight of sacrifice would be ingrained so deeply into my soul. On the night of September 9, 2011, when I received a horrifying knock at the door, I knew my world would never be the same. My husband, SPC Christopher, was an Army sniper who was killed by small arms fire in Paktya, Afghanistan. Never could he have imagined he wouldn't make it home to the country he held so dear; likewise, never could I have imagined the battle I would engage in to fight for our country on the home front.
I knew in that moment that it was now my responsibility to not only make sure people knew of Chris's sacrifice, but I also had a grave responsibility to fight for our nation here as well. If he and so many others were willing to give it all, the least I could do is remember them and do my best to preserve the freedom that cost them their life. This is a message that is all too easy to forget, yet is one of the most powerful that can be told. We must be the ones to remember Chris and his fallen comrades and what they gave, even though they aren't here to serve as a reminder. See, those killed in war are left at our mercy to be remembered. They can't show up at events and be recognized, and they can't proudly yet humbly wear their valorous medals for all to see. If we don't speak for them, they will have no voice because they aren't here to represent themselves. We must do it for them.
Honoring our fallen service members is not a just a somber moment of silence to recognize and reflect on their sacrifice. We can truly honor them the most by living out full and happy lives. They didn't give their lives so we could spend our days pouting and thinking about what a great loss we have in them. They gave everything so our way of life could continue, and we can remain happy Americans continuing to reach for the American dream. If you want to say thank you-to do something to better this nation-pay attention to what is happening in it. We must preserve it on the home front and fight for it here. We owe it to them. There is no place like America, and no other land of such incredible freedom.
On Memorial Day, on this one day, the nation remembers what so many of us who have given a piece of their heart to this country can never forget. Each day that goes by, my thoughts never waver from the man who loved you and me enough to contest the enemy face to face. He and so many others went not because they hated what was in front of them, but because they loved what was behind them much, much more.
As Samuel Adams once said, "The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought." This not only goes for those on the battlefield in faraway lands, but we also have a responsibility to not only remember, but to fight here on the home front as well. The two go hand in hand: Once we become a nation that truly remembers what has been given so we could be what we are today, we will never let freedom and liberty slip from our hands.
- Jane Horton
Jane Horton, a war widow and veterans advocate is a member of Concerned Veterans for America. Ms. Horton devotes her time to Gold & Blue star families and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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