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For some of us, every day is Memorial Day. For all Americans, it should be.It is our responsibility as citizens to study our history, to recognize what was risked and sacrificed from the inception of this nation up through today so that we could have the freedoms, options, and opportunities we do. The ability to choose our path regardless of station, to succeed and fail based on our merits and on our decisions, to live our dreams is unique in the annals of history. Those liberties did not pre-exist. They were hard won. Honoring, respecting, and appreciating the sacrifices of generations past, and then safeguarding and preserving those freedoms for our children and grandchildren is the duty of every American. AHEAD OF MEMORIAL DAY, BEST-SELLING NOVELIST JACK CARR REVEALS THE MILITARY INSPIRATION BEHIND HIS WORKMy grandfather was a Marine Corsair pilot killed off Okinawa in May 1945. I grew up with photos of him with his plane and his squadron, his medals, his wings, and the silk escape and evasion maps the military issued aviators. I made models of his Corsair, read Pappy Boyington’s autobiography, and watched Black Sheep Squadron on television. Those touchpoints with the World War II generation instilled an appreciation for all they had sacrificed so that I could follow my dreams, first into the military to serve my country in uniform and then into publishing as an author. MEMORIAL DAY BY THE NUMBERS: FACTS ABOUT THE SOLEMN AMERICAN HOLIDAYNot a day has gone by in my life where I have not taken a moment to think about and reflect on the sacrifices of those who have stepped up in defense of our nation. This last December my daughter and I volunteered with the Best Defense Foundation and helped escort sixty-three veterans ages 96 to 104 to Pearl Harbor for the 80th Anniversary commemoration events. We spent a full week getting them to and from ceremonies, parades, meals, and school visits, but most importantly, getting to know them, listening to their stories, and their lessons. We walked the grounds on which they fought and stood before memorials created to honor those who gave the last full measure of devotion. Don’t squander the gift for which so many gave their lives. Freedom cannot die on our watch. It was a life-changing experience for my daughter, a touchpoint with the World War II generation that she will never forget. When we returned home, she asked if she could hang a shadowbox of her great-grandfather’s photos and medals in her room. We will be traveling to Normandy next week volunteering with the Best Defense Foundation taking World War II veterans back to the beaches and streets on which they fought so they can say goodbye to their friends and fellow countrymen who never made it home. How can we best honor the sacrifice of those who fought and died in defense of American ideals? What do we owe those who didn’t return? What do we owe those families whose sons and daughters answered the call and exist today only in memories and photographs? CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTERWe are the inheritors of freedom. It is our responsibility as citizens to safeguard and protect that freedom for the next generation and to instill in our children a respect and appreciation for what was sacrificed on their behalf. Don’t squander the gift for which so many gave their lives. Freedom cannot die on our watch.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPAs I spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on my recent book tour, I was reminded of his sage words from a speech in 1961: Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it, and then hand it to them with the well-thought lessons of how they in their lifetime must do the same. And if you and I don’t do this, then you and I may well spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.I encourage all Americans to visit a local memorial or national cemetery with their families this Memorial Day weekend. Don’t let the sacrifices of those whose memory is honored on plaques, statues, and grave sites be forgotten. Respect and appreciate what they fought and died to protect and preserve.
FILE – Flowers and American flags line a grave in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, U.S. May 31, 2021.
(Reuters)Be an active guardian of those freedoms to ensure they do not perish from the earth. We owe them nothing less. Honor their sacrifice. Remember that every day is Memorial Day. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JACK CARR
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