A remembrance

flag0373It’s a roar not soon forgotten when the field of 33 drivers rounds the curve to the paddock straightaway and the pace car exits the track. The thrill of the Indy500 is unmatched in motorsports, and the refreshing, replenishing, revered beverage associated with this great race is MILK. On Sunday, two Indiana dairy farmers (selected each year as a rookie and a done-it-before) not only provided that winner’s refreshment, they greeted race goers. People love talking to the actual dairy farmers who personally deliver the “coolest trophy in sports.”

Having the opportunity to cover the Indy500 and the celebratory bottle of milk three years ago, the roar of the cars exceeding 200 mph for 250 laps around a 2.5-mile oval, and its famous ending with the celebratory milk, were preceded by a far more important and time-honored remembrance of our fallen countrymen who have paid the supreme sacrifice so we may be free.

What is freedom in today’s fast-paced ever-changing world?

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, Freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government; the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”

Today (Monday, May 25) we honor with solemn gratitude the memory of those who bought our freedom at a dear price — those who gave all to protect it. Our freedom as a
eagle flagdemocracy is to be cherished, revered, protected and practiced with integrity. We owe a debt of gratitude every day of the year.

In the 1982 words of President Ronald Reagan: “Our pledge and our prayer this day are those of free men and free women who know that all we hold dear must constantly be built up, fostered, revered and guarded vigilantly from those in every age who seek its destruction. We know, as have our Nation’s defenders down through the years, that there can never be peace without its essential elements of liberty, justice and independence. Those true and only building blocks of peace were the lone and lasting cause and hope and prayer that lighted the way of those whom we honor and remember this Memorial Day. To keep faith with our hallowed dead, let us be sure, and very sure, today and every day of our lives, that we keep their cause, their hope, their prayer, forever our country’s own.”

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Gratitude and honor

“For our country, for us all,” read the Marines billboard as I drove through the nation’s heartland over Memorial Day weekend.

I turned the phrase over in my mind, thinking just what kind of courage, heart, and love of country it takes to serve in our nation’s military. A rush of thankfulness flooded over me as the tires of my Jeep Patriot ate the miles to the next destination, and farmland stretched endlessly on either side of the highway.

I whispered ‘thank you.’


Today, our nation commemorates Memorial Day, which began as Decoration Day, when the grave decorating custom became more prevalent during and after the Civil War, honoring soldiers who died — both Union and Confederate.

Since then, the final Monday in May has become a special time to honor all of the men and women — the patriots who have served and died — paying the ultimate price for our freedom and our country… “for us all.”


I am struck by the diverse beauty of America. American soldiers come from all walks of life and all regions of the country, and a high percentage come from farms, ranches and rural life.

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As I drove past that billboard along a highway near Lubbock, Texas, I also thought about the mothers and the fathers, families and communities, who have raised, and then lost, men and women who have paid the ultimate price so that we may be free.


This Memorial Day, as always, we solemnly remember with honor, with gratitude the supreme sacrifice of our heroes, that freedom and liberty may live and that we as Americans may have the rights and responsibilities to protect it and pass it on to future generations.

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