Parting Thoughts on Memorial Day

One year ago I noted that Memorial Day had lost its meaning for a generation of Americans unaccustomed to sacrifice or war.

Well, history has tapped us on the shoulder, with a grim reminder of just how frail our freedoms are and how we all are called us to remembrance and greatness.

You know, it's the conceit of powerful men and women that they alone shape history. But the real truth lies engraved in white stones planted in the fields of Arlington, Normandy and Anzio. Each American has the capacity to become a source of light, and a soldier for liberty.

One small example: This week, Pat Tillman, a professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals, turned down a $9million contract and enlisted in the Army. Sgt. Gene Arden Vance Jr. who died last week in Afghanistan, postponed his honeymoon to answer his country's call. Memorial Day is for such as these.

Let's remember the faces and names, but let's reflect on something more: Each sunset, each challenge or thrill, each flicker of love in a child's or spouse's eyes — these are the things that give our warriors solace. When they need strength, they turn to us.

Memorial Day, after all, is not about death; it's about the blessings for which Americans so selflessly risked their lives.