Reflecting on Sacrifice: Honoring America’s Fallen Heroes and Their Legacy

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How does one uncover the purpose of their life? Some stumble upon it by luck, while others feel a call from destiny urging them forward. Our service members, who have made the ultimate sacrifice, have secured freedom for generations and promoted peace worldwide.

Throughout history, Americans have risen to the occasion when enemies threaten or innocent lives are at risk. We can recall Adolf Hitler’s attempt to annihilate entire races, among others. The American fight for independence also stands as a testament to a nation, even in its infancy, battling for its beliefs.

Americans witnessed injustice and grasped the mission at hand: to uphold Judeo-Christian values and protect the homeland. These foundational ideas combine to create a strong and free country, preserved by the sacrifices of patriots.

Throughout American history, we’ve faced numerous challenges but remained undeterred, earning the world’s respect. Japanese Admiral Keiji Shibazaki boldly claimed that the U.S. couldn’t take Tarawa, even with a million men in 100 years. Yet, an American flag flew there within three days.

In Vietnam, the struggle against communism extended to Khe Sanh. Despite being vastly outnumbered, 6,000 American Marines stayed to defend it. They held out against three-to-one odds and continuous attacks for 77 days until relieved by other U.S. forces.

Such heroic tales inspire a deep sense of patriotism and devotion to God and country.

The Civil War was another seminal moment in American history, with approximately 600,000 men lost in the nation’s bloodiest conflict. Families used ceremonies to grieve and honor the dead, a tradition that evolved into Memorial Day, established as a federal holiday in 1868.

Shortly before his reelection and the Civil War’s end, President Abraham Lincoln faced uncertainty regarding the Union’s future. In 1864, he addressed soldiers of the 166th Ohio Regiment in Washington, D.C., emphasizing unity and the principle that all men are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Lincoln’s words still resonate today in 2024:

I suppose you are going home to see your families and friends. For the service you have done in this great struggle in which we are engaged I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I happen to say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them in a few brief remarks the importance of success in this contest.

It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours.

I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations.

It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright — not only for one, but for two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.

In this same spirit, let’s honor and learn from those who stood against the enemy to protect our way of life. It’s hard to imagine where America would be without the brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice throughout our history.

We often take our liberty for granted, forgetting that freedom isn’t free. It requires continuous effort and sacrifice.

Time and again, Americans have stepped up in times of crisis. They fought in the American Revolution, enduring harsh winters and scarce resources. Even after victory over the British, the fight for freedom has never ceased.

It’s this sacrifice we remember on Memorial Day. While we grieve their loss, we should also reflect on what drove these brave individuals to act as they did.

It’s said a soldier fights not out of hate for the enemy but out of love for those they protect. Those we honor on Memorial Day fought for their loved ones and for our liberty. They believed America was worth fighting for.

No other country shares the same values and principles as America. It remains the last best hope for humanity, making it essential to protect and preserve this great nation.

Remember our fallen heroes, honor those who answered the call, and teach our children the value of freedom.

Amelia Koehn
Amelia Koehn
Amelia Koehn earned her B.A. in political science and minored in history. She is a former member of the University of Iowa Women’s Rowing Team and president of Young Women for America at the University of Iowa. She lives in Washington D.C. and works at Judicial Watch while serving on the Development Board of the Germanna Foundation in Culpeper, VA.

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