In praise of Americans who have given their all

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This Memorial Day, take a moment to think about what our country would be like without the sacrifice made by those who ensured our birth as a nation, who maintained our union, and who have defended our homeland and way of life across two and a half centuries.

By Dakota Wood

The war in Ukraine, brutally slogging along some 5,000 miles from the U.S., involves another people but it serves as a reminder to Americans of what it takes to keep one’s country safe, free, and prosperous. It also reminds us that there are dangers in this world that can only be stopped by people willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us.

People are the heart of a nation’s strength, especially those comparatively few who step forward to serve their community and their country in military service. Wars are rather rare, but the nation’s future can hang in the balance when war comes and the loss of life that results in defeating an enemy can number in the thousands, sometimes the tens of thousands.

Our history is punctuated with such crises and sacrifices. Citizen-patriots rose to the challenge of securing America’s birth nearly 250 years ago, with some 8,000 new Americans giving their all to defend our fledgling republic.

The Civil War, two world wars, operations against terrorists who have attacked America at home and Americans abroad, and wars to protect U.S. interests not just in our hemisphere but also in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, have resulted in the loss of nearly 700,000 Americans.

These men and women did not seek death; it came to them through their service. Their motivations included protecting the lives of those they loved; defending their homeland that has provided opportunity and freedom previously unknown in history; and facing dangers loyally alongside their brothers and sisters with whom they trained, deployed, and surged into combat as they answered their nation’s call.

These warriors were someone’s son or daughter; they might have been a husband or wife, father or mother, sister or brother. They were surely friends. They meant something to someone, and their loss struck deep to those whose lives they touched. These realities are why we have memorials to the fallen; cemeteries dedicated to their internment; poems, books, songs, and speeches written in their honor; and specific occasions, like Memorial Day, set aside on which to reflect on all of this.

This Memorial Day, take a moment to think about what our country would be like without the sacrifice made by those who ensured our birth as a nation, who maintained our union, and who have defended our homeland and way of life across two and a half centuries.

Many people serve in a vast number of ways. But some have served to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice. Remembering them is the point of Memorial Day.

Dakota Wood is a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense and editor of Heritage’s Index of U.S. Military Strength. Previously, he served for two decades in the U.S. Marine Corps.

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8 thoughts on “In praise of Americans who have given their all

  1. Can you believe? VTDIGGER? They have not a SINGLE piece on veterans…and today is Memorial day Monday. Nothing about it on Sat, Sun and so far, today. No mention of a parade….but WHAT THEY DO HAVE UP? It is a story from (of course)….people in Brattleboro wanting to make their cemetary “more inclusive” (the “I” of “D.E.I.)…..because Muslim faith wishes graves to be facing a certain way. In the article they show a grave with an American flag….certainly a vet….but NOT A SINGLE MENTION or writeup of Memorial Day & what it means. BUT OH BOY is VTDIGGER allon board highlighting a MUSLIM grave issue?…. Memorial Day? Have they ever heard of September 11…Muslims?

    Vtdigger is a very bad place. Almost evil. They’re a Political Action Committee (PAC)….not a tax exempt 510-c3 news site – as they claim…so of course. they do anything to skip paying their taxes. It’s the Vermont way…more free stuff – for me, not you…YOU pay 🙂

    • Also, it’s no surprise….my old hometown newspaper The Times Argus of Montpelier…a pure mouthpiece rag for all things Dem-Progressive & brainwash…….not a SINGLE mention of this being Memorial Day…people that served, people that died:

      • And to complete…. The “Troika of Vermont Trash”….the Burlington Free Press (i.e. The BTV Socialist-Democrat Daily)…does not have a SINGLE mention of it being Memorial Day….all front page is about the BTV City Marathon run. VTdigger, Times Argus, BTV Free Press…ignore, gloss over history to suit their agenda.

        • Yup the media is in tune with the rest of the main stream slime spreaders. D/P garbage their told to propagandize. I saw a mime yesterday showing every major media outlet all saying EXACTLY the same words reporting on different subjects. That’s not by coincidence but by the doctrine of PROPAGANDA. You will only hear what WE want you to hear.

  2. Referencing Ukraine is an interesting way to start a commentary about wars and the sacrifices of American men and women. My father was a Merchant Marine, entered the military at 16 yrs of age (w/parental permission), and sent to the South Pacific on the mop-up mission at the close of WWII. He passed away 20 years ago. I can only imagine what his opinion of the Ukraine is from his vantage point today. Considering what we know to be True about who the enemy really is there, no matter how hard our military industrial complex attempts to cover it up with lies and deception. Considering the Russian Federation has submitted documentation of the contents discovered in the biolabs there (i.e. Avian Flu) and who is funding these labs. Republican Lindsay Graham hugging Zelensky and pledging allegience, more weapons and more funding. Don’t forget the missions still going on in Syria and the plans to establish a permenant base in northern Syria. More blood shed and more money wasted for the sake of a crumbling empire. The honor Americans must bestow upon the fallen and the veterans is to stop the blood baths and pure evil perpetrated by those we consider leaders. The Truth must come out and we must stop their plans to destroy us and our country.

    • Yes Melissa, Ukraine is our “out of country” testing ground for illegal bio labs which develop new stains of virus to kill people. How clean for our corrupt government and basically, along with the money laundering the only reason we are spending 100 billion so far to fight a enemy who’s total military spending amounts to 30 billion. The uni party is totally committed to keeping the operation going to supply money for the corrupt military industrial complex and corrupt political hacks. We’ve learned nothing from the endless string of wars Veterans have been committed to fight in.

    • Yes Jeff, it’s a touching video and oh so true. Also a big salute and Semper Fi to all my Marine brothers that didn’t make it home as well as the other service branches. May we get a responsible president soon who’ll get us out of the illegal war in Ukraine before we get dragged into another useless costly war.

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