Memorial Day is a time for all Americans to reconnect with our history and core values by honoring those who sacrificed their lives over the years so that we could continue to live in peace and enjoy freedom.
After 9/11 I received the excerpts below. I have kept it over the years and liked to use it from time to time when I was attending Memorial Day events as a State Senator. I think it sums up what we are all about as a nation and why we owe such a debt of gratitude to all of those who have perished over the years defending the freedoms and liberties we all hold so dear.
The excerpts below was published in National Review on September 25, 2001 by Peter Ferrara:
An American is English, or French or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab or Pakistani or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Blackfoot, Navajo, Apache or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim. In fact there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each one of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that, he will answer only to god, not the government or armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for god.
An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness. An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.
Americans welcome the best, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes. But they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tiered and your poor, the homeless, tempest tossed. These are in fact the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did, so did Stalin and Mao Tse Tung and every other bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But in doing so, you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.