When it comes to expressing gratitude, I can't think of a more appropriate day to do so than today. Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who have given their lives serving in the armed forces of our country. To remember them outside of the context of the freedoms and blessings I have in my own life would be both dishonorable and ungrateful, but it's not hard to do.
We live in a time when our public discourse and 24-hour news commentary make it easy to believe our nation doesn't have it as great as we actually do. In spite of the end of life as we know it blankets thrown over our recent economic downturn, it takes very little research to discover we are still one of the most prosperous countries in the world. And no, I'm not talking about the 1%, I'm talking about all of us. We often fail to take the comparisons of our personal situations beyond the borders of our country. If we did, we would find that no matter how disadvantaged we are compared to our neighbor, and no matter how much that has to do with the economic system of our country, relatively few of our 300 million people are wondering if they will eat today or if their children will have a school to attend.
We live in a country that allows us to speak our mind. Whether it be about what a marriage should look like, or what God looks like, we have the freedom to express that. Granted, it doesn't always come without persecution. But persecution is far different than prosecution and even execution, which falls on those who dare speak outside the lines dictated in many other countries.
Being an American sometimes makes it very easy to forget what the rest of the world looks like, and what their struggles are. It makes it easy to forget that we are an incredibly young nation that is the envy of many older ones. It makes it sadly easy to forget we weren't discovered as a blessed nation, but only became so at the expense of those who died fighting for their vision of freedom and opportunity.
Today I recognize what I have and the many blessings I share with my wife and children are a reflection of the home I was raised in and the community of people who have touched my life along the way. But more than that, I recognize that none of it would be possible without those who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the insistence that I would one day live out their vision. And I thank them.