If you look around your home, your workplace, or your neighborhood, you will likely find many things that you take for granted: a roof over your head, food to feed yourself and your family, TVs, computers, cars, furniture, the list goes on and on.

Even the poorest in America have most of the creature comforts we take for granted like hot and cold running water, ovens, microwaves, and even DVD players. We have all these “things” because of something else we possess that is intangible: Freedom.

No other people on this earth have prospered as much or achieved the things we have in the United States. We are one of the richest countries in the world. We have an obesity problem in America while other countries are trying to figure out how to even feed their people.

graves at arlington on memorial dayHaving been in the Navy for 24 years, I have seen other parts of the world and I have witnessed first hand what true poverty and strife look like. What most of these countries have in common is that they are less free than we are. But unless you travel to many of these other countries, it is easy to take the freedom we enjoy for granted.

Our freedom did not come easily, and it has not been kept safe without a cost. The cost of that freedom can be seen in any military cemetery, where each headstone marks the ultimate sacrifice paid by an American who gave his/her life in the defense of this country’s freedom.

So, it is on Memorial Day, that we celebrate and pay respect to the men and women who paid the ultimate price to preserve the freedoms we take for granted.

I ask that you do one simple thing while you are out barbecuing this Memorial Day, spending time with family, and enjoying a three-day weekend:

Pause for a moment and try to remember that all through our history, there have been Americans who have been willing to stand up and say, “I will defend this freedom…I do not take it for granted…I am willing to put myself in harms way…and I am willing to die, if need be, on the battlefield, fighting those who seek to strip our freedom from us.” And remember that so many of them did, in fact, die on that battlefield for us.

LCDR Jewett 8x10


I wish all of you a very happy Memorial Day and will leave you with this Edmund Burke quote, which I have on a plaque on the wall in my office:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

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    About the Writer, Retired LCDR Carl Jewett, VA Claims Agent

    Carl Jewett is a retired navy lieutenant commander, a certified VA claims agent, and a mesothelioma patient advocate. He is uniquely qualified to help veterans with mesothelioma and shares his knowledge in his blogs.