Today is a special and unique holiday. It is a day of giving thanks, not for all blessings, but for one. It is a day not of fireworks and revelry, but of quiet celebration. It is a day not focused on an event, but on the people who have made the events of our lives, and the freedom in which we -- and others elsewhere -- live them, possible
It is not a day for politics, causes, or debates and any who would make it so do nothing but show ignorance and contempt for those Men, male and female, who are the focus of this day. Such creatures who would hijack and defile this day with such crass self-interest and -absorption are but soulless shells bereft of dignity, integrity, courage, and honor. They are unworthy of any strong emotion, even contempt; are worth contemplation this day merely for comparison to and with those we honor; and, deserve only pity, for they too could have been Men.
For today, we honor those who have stood in defense of our freedom; and, most of all, we honor those that fell so doing. Most have indeed been male; but, more than many realize have been female. From Molly Pitcher to the women who masqueraded as males to fight in that war between the states; from those that disguised themselves to sail on ships of wood and sail to those that fight this day we have always been blessed with women of courage, integrity, and bravery. Gender matters not; nor does it matter if one stepped forward or was summoned, for all answered the call. They joined that thin coloured line, and stood fast.
What cowards would abandon, and tyrants destroy, they saved. Their shoulders have truly held our skies suspended, and their blood has paid the price of freedom for us and for others.
The ideals, the slogans, and ultimately even home and hearth were not why they stood. When the bugles call, the bullets fly, and the bombs burst such things become of minor import. What matters then is love and duty. Not a duty to some higher power or state; rather, the duty one has to one's brother in arms. What shell they inhabit means naught at such a time, and what they were before means less than nothing at all. The only thing that matters then is that they are with you and you with them, and the love and duty that exists between at that moment is all. They will not be failed. So Tommy steps forward unto the breech, Molly takes over the cannon and fires, and unsung heroes step forward into the fire.
Some walk among us now. Others lie with Brothers amidst peaceful grass. Still more rest where they fell, unmarked on land or sea.
Today is not a day for torrents of praise or empty posturing. It is a day for but two words and two actions.
Those two words are "Thank You"; and, the two actions are to say them to those who have stood and stand among us, and to remember those who stand in memories forever green. They saved things not for the sum of pay, but for each of us and all who come after. They saved them for the higher things, and for that Band of Brothers to which they for eternity belong.
Take the time today. Quietly say the words to those who serve, be they old or be they young. Take time throughout the day and remember their sacrifice, and most especially remember those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom and are not here in flesh to hear your words.