BETWEEN THE LINES: A tribute to those who died defending freedom

There are not many things Americans unanimously agree on, but most are thankful for the soldiers who served or are serving our country, especially those who lost their lives. With the exception of the dark days of the Vietnam War, soldiers have been widely revered by the public.

May 28 marked the day Congress set aside to honor those who died defending our liberty and other nations’ liberties. The holiday began shortly after the Civil War and originally was called "Decoration Day," but in 1882 "Memorial Day" replaced it. May 30 became the official date for the holiday until Congress changed that to the last Monday in May.

The national holiday, which unofficially marks the beginning of summer and the end of the school year, has lost much of its meaning. Perhaps that is the result of the endless stream of foreign conflicts the United States has been engaged in since World War II.    So many more families were touched by the war against Germany and Japan than these policing actions.

Three generations later, those memories have faded.

As a youngster, I had to memorize President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and the president’s closing words in that speech still echo what should remain our objective: “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.”

Defending freedom abroad will have little meaning if it is gradually eroded at home.

Dennis Prager wrote in his most recent book that several generations of Americans have not been taught the American value system.

How many people can explain what made America unique? Do citizens of this country still believe in American exceptionalism? Or do they agree with our president, who travels around the world apologizing for our past actions?

Paying homage to Americans who died on the battlefield can best be done by returning to the values that made America great, which in large degree have been undermined by multiculturalism and decades of illegal immigration.

Even leaders in Great Britain, France and Germany now understand multiculturalism’s damaging effects. Reversing cultural trends will be a challenging endeavor, but absolutely necessary if we regain our greatness.

In the interim we will continue to honor those who died serving our country. We must never forget that soldiers do not create foreign policy, they merely follow orders.

As we mourn those who gave their lives, Americans must reflect the words penned by John McCrae in 1915 as he wrote, “Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders Field.”

These dead paid the ultimate price with their lives. Shed a tear in remembrance, and be grateful for being able to live in a country that God has truly blessed.

Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 13 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.

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