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Remembering the Brave

May 28, 2021

As Americans, we are so blessed to live in the greatest country ever, but we are sometimes blind to the extent of those blessings. We may not realize just how different life is in other places. We may forget that America is the Land of the Free because of the brave – because of the incredible men and women who laid down their lives in support of the freedoms that make America so special.


Memorial Day is a reminder of their tremendous sacrifice. And it’s our opportunity to reflect on why they made that sacrifice in the first place. Many of these men and women died on foreign shores. They gave their lives in nations that weren’t free so that our nation can remain free.


It is our duty as a free people to live up to that sacrifice. We should certainly celebrate our freedoms, but we also need to defend them when they are threatened here at home. In recent years, we’ve seen threats to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, our right to keep and bear arms, and so many more. We need to defend our rights and liberties so that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy them years from now.


We also need to educate our children and grandchildren on what those freedoms are, how we came to enjoy them in the first place, and why they’re so important. We need to tell the stories of the brave Americans who died to make them possible.


Our kids should learn stories like Nathan Hale’s, whose last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” And they should learn why Nathan made that sacrifice; why freedom is a cause worth dying for.


We have the ability to celebrate Memorial Day, to barbecue with our families, and to enjoy our beautiful state because of the sacrifice of so many heroes. As President Calvin Coolidge wisely said, the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for us “made the cause of America their supreme choice.” We thank them for making that choice to serve and for sacrificing in the course of that service.


In South Dakota, as across the country, Memorial Day also marks the kick-off of our busy summer season. This means that we get to share South Dakota’s way of life – rooted deeply in our love for freedom – with millions of visitors over the next few months. And this year’s visitor season promises to be busier than usual – perhaps our busiest ever.


So enjoy your Memorial Day! Spend time with your loved-ones. And while you do that, take the time to tell a story or two about why we celebrate this important day. It is the very best way that we can thank America’s greatest heroes for their sacrifice.