Long ago, from a personal perspective, but not so long ago in the context of human civilization, a ragtag collection of interesting individuals began arriving on the shores of North America. They came for various reasons. Some to escape religious persecution. Others to escape poverty or seek economic prosperity. Many seeking adventure. Some even to escape prosecution from the law. They were many and varied, but they all had one thing in common. They sought a rather nebulous concept called Freedom. The freedom to live their lives, practice their religion, and succeed or fail on their own merits.
It was a rough start, but after a while it took root, and not only survived, but thrived. The mavericks, misfits, adventurers, and outcasts came together, found common ground, and formed a nation based on personal freedom and opportunity. They intentionally set things up so that the central government would have as little control over their lives as possible...after all, Governmental interference was what they came here to escape.
Before long, they had a good thing going. But like all good things, sooner or later somebody notices and wants to take it away from you. They found it necessary to have a standing military. They didn't want this...after all the military were the enforcers of many of the oppressive governments they had sought to escape, but it became obvious that it was needed, so they got one.
The military forces of the young nation would evolve and grow to become the most powerful and respected on the planet, not only defending it's citizenry and interests, but coming to the aid of allies around the globe to assure their sovereignty and freedom.
This all came at a tremendous price to those who served and their families. Many would return from duty permanently scarred and disfigured, both physically and emotionally. Many would never return at all. Fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and more recently Mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters. All making great sacrifices, leaving all that they loved behind, some never to return, all in the name of that concept we call freedom.
It is to honor them, their sacrifice, their service, and their memory that we hold this national day of rememberance. Both a celebration of their achievements and a mourning of their loss.
So, to those who served, to those who were lost, both by the United States of America, and her allies and friends around the globe, The Ark Salutes You, our heroes!
As you celebrate, as you spend time with family and friends this holiday weekend, please set aside a moment of rememberance for all of those who have paid so dearly for your freedom, and say a prayer for those who are serving us today, the finest professional volunteer military forces in the world.