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    Posted May 23, 2014 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    A Debt We Can Never Repay


    Monday  is Memorial Day. It is a time to stop, reflect and remember those  military personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to maintain and  protect our freedom and way of life in the US of A.

    The  tradition of Memorial Day originally began in commemoration of those  soldiers lost during the Civil War. It was known in various communities  and states as Decoration Day. The date set aside was May 30. This was  later changed to allow for a 3-day weekend by Congress to be the last  Monday in May.

    For the vast majority of Americans it is just  another holiday weekend and the unofficial start to the summer vacation  season. For many others it's the weekend when millions around the world  tune in to watch or listen to the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indy  500.

    To too many it's just a day to get together with family,  have picnics and barbecues, go to the opening of community pools across  the nation. It's a time to lay back and enjoy having three days off in a  row with no worries.

    Yet, Memorial Day symbolizes much more.  Ask any veterans' organization or any military person in uniform or any  family member who has lost a loved one in war, whether declared or  undeclared, in peacetime or wartime.

    Memorial Day was meant to  be a day upon which a grateful nation pauses to remember those who  donned a uniform and gave their lives in defense of our American way of  life. These brave men and women paid the ultimate price to make sure we  could have our picnics, our barbecues, our splashing around in the pool.

    The sacrifice of those who gave their lives is honored with each  election where not by coup, but by ordinary Americans casting a ballot  and choosing those who will lead and represent them. The power and  authority of those officials are transferred from one elected official  to the next, from the precinct level to the highest office in the land,  the Presidency, without the need for troops in the streets because of  those who answered the call to duty, honor and service.

    The  ability to vote, the ability to choose, the ability to speak our minds,  the ability to worship or not worship, the ability to write these words  without fear, the ability to work, to succeed, to fail, to rise above  our circumstances, all of this we owe to those men and women who fought  and died for peace, justice and freedom.

    None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to those men and women who died in defense of our freedom.

    On a personal note:

    In those dark days following the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese  Navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, four brothers from Nashville,  Brown County, Indiana lined up at the recruiting office and joined the  US Navy. These four brothers went off to save the world for democracy  both in the European Theater and in the Pacific.

    Three made it  back home at the close of the war. The one who didn't return was my  Great-Uncle Hobert. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman  and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.

    I  never was afforded the pleasure of meeting my Great-Uncle Hobert Powell,  a sailor who gave his life for our nation during World War II and long  before I was born. The family seldom mentioned his name, but it was  apparent Great-Uncle Hobert was not forgotten. His picture, in uniform,  hung proudly in my Great-Grandpa Ancil Powell's living room. In silence,  his memory was honored.

    Today thousands still are in the fight  to keep us safe. Over the past 10+ years, thousands more have shed  their blood and forfeited their lives. We must never forget their  sacrifice, their bravery, the lives they lived.

    This is why we owe a debt of gratitude we can never repay and should never stop repaying.

    This is why the deaths of veterans waiting on care from the Veterans  Affairs medical facilities is such a gaping wound on the American  conscious and must be addressed not after another study, but with action  now.

    From the Cornfield, I hope each of you will take time  from the barbecuing, the playing games with family, watching the race or  enjoying the water and sun to stop - remember our heroes who gave their  all so that we can live in the land of the free and the home of the  brave.

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