Take a few moments this Memorial Day to reflect on the sacrifice so many made to uphold the American promise, the radical concept that “All men are created equal.”
Until our forebears adopted the American Declaration of Independence, the world believed people were assigned their station in life by Divine Right. America rejected that stultifying proposition with the dynamic notion that “We the People” could govern ourselves under a self-established rule of law.
Of course, to state the proposition that all men are created equal was easier said than accomplished. In fact, our Constitution rejected equality by institutionalizing chattel slavery. Yet, the struggle for freedom and equality continued. In time, the fight led to the Civil War with casualties greater than all our other wars combined. In response, survivors set aside a day to remember the heroic dead.
On Memorial Day, as we honor our forebears’ sacrifice, we should also remember that the promise of America is still an unfulfilled, ongoing struggle. As we memorialize the dead, let’s also resolve to achieve America’s promise so those who sacrificed their all will not have died in vain.
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