Today is a day to pause and respect the sacrifices

“Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,

And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,

‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, neath the sky;

As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,

Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,

And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.”

You know the melody. It is “Taps,” the bugle or trumpet call arranged by a Civil War general as a “lights out” signal to the troops. Later, its mournful tones were adopted for use at military funerals. It is a sound that will echo throughout countless Memorial Day services today.

For Americans outside the armed forces, today is often the mental start of summer. You know, a day to fire up the grill and enjoy an afternoon in the back yard. Or try to get in a round of golf or maybe catch up on the yard work.

But do we recognize that the roughly millions of Americans who have died throughout the nation’s history are the reason we can celebrate in relative peace and freedom? Today, service personnel continue to serve around the world, at risk to their lives, at great sacrifice to their families and themselves, to defend the nation, to represent its best interest, to be of service to those in need in the name of the United States of America.

They are risking their lives so the nation doesn’t have to live in fear. They sacrifice their home life to provide assistance to nations and people in trouble, be it from war or natural disaster.

We are free because, since the Revolution, the very war that led to the founding of the most free and most stable Republic in the history of man, there have been people willing to step forward, despite the chance they would die, to defend the nation’s interests. Enemies foreign and domestic have been fought, stared down and put to rest, often at grave cost to our own people, our armed forces personnel who paid the ultimate price in the loss of their very lives.

Take a moment to consider, to remember, to give thanks. The survival of the nation owes an unpayable debt to those who sacrificed their existence so the United States of America could continue to Please think about that for at least a few moments today.