Many years ago I marched in the Memorial Day parade in my home town as a member of the high school band, along with veterans, Boy and Girl Scouts, and various other groups. We’d stop at the Susquehanna River to remember those who died at sea, with the casting of a floral wreath into the water and a twenty-one gun salute. Then we’d march to the cemetery, where we’d salute the war dead with taps, speeches, and a twenty-one gun salute. Today many activities fill a Memorial Day commemoration, some related to the purpose of Memorial Day and some not. I still like to attend the ceremonies to help me remember the sacrifice of so many so I can live in freedom.

Today, with the erosion of Constitutional freedoms, the loss of rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and the balance of power among the branches of the Federal government askew, is a good time for remembrance. War is not glorious, but at times it becomes necessary. (Imagine where we’d be if Hitler had not been stopped.) The act of self-sacrifice on the part of the members of our military should be remembered. Memorial Day is to remember the dead, but I think there is plenty of room to thank the living who returned.

As a living American who reaps the benefits of their service and sacrifice, I want to be a faithful steward of the freedoms with which the United States has been blessed.