There has been nothing more glorious, no advancement more lauded, no cause more worthy, no struggle more just, than the American experiment in self-government and individual liberty.
Since the dawn of time, man has been nothing more than a pawn of forces greater than himself. Then, a mere two centuries ago, a band of men gathered together and conceived the idea that the power of government should be used not to control men but to protect them from the forces of tyranny.
At a small town in Massachusetts, that idea was put into action as American farmers took up arms against the king's soldiers and declared that they would no longer be subjects, but free individuals with a say in their own destiny.
Since the first American death in that War of Independence, more than a million men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep alive the idea that individuals are more important than the state.
Generations of Americans have sacrificed sons and daughters in the great struggle of freedom. As we try to impress upon you on these pages, freedom requires constant vigilance against those who would oppress us.
Since the "shot heard round the world" was fired 227 years ago, millions of men and women have answered the call to defend America's homeland and the idea of freedom. Many came home in body bags or were buried on foreign soil.
Unfortunately, many of those soldiers were killed in wars that were not entirely popular, necessary or just. Our nation's history is riddled with debates on whether a particular war should have been fought.
World War II would seem to have been a just war if ever there was one. Still, isolationists felt we should not be involved in what they considered mainly a European or Asian conflict.
The common thread in all these wars is that Americans answered the call to duty. They performed, for the most part, with honor, courage and integrity.
Those are the traits that must endure to ensure that our system of limited government-- of the people, by the people and for the people-- shall never perish from the Earth.
With all that is happening in the world these days, I am reminded that Memorial day is not just about picnics or the beginning of summer. It is about remembering and honoring the men and women who have served, or are serving today, admirably and bravely. I am reminded to do so, not only on a holiday, but to be grateful to those men and women .... every day!
We hope you all enjoyed your three-day weekend, but we remind you to never lose sight of why you had the opportunity to spend time with your friends and family.
For every hero we know about, there are thousands more who gave generously of themselves. We owe them our gratitude -- and our continuing vigilance to protect the freedom some of us take for granted.
Remember that the freedom for you to read this newspaper or to have a cookout in your back yard stems from sacrifices made by others, and remember.... every day is Memorial Day.