There are a few days a year that require me to pause and reflect on what it means to be an American. One of those is Memorial Day. As a family member of many veterans, this day means a lot to me. Luckily, both my grandfather and my great uncle did not die in combat, but that is sadly not the case for many families.
Living in America is such an exceptional gift. I use the term “gift” because not everyone is afforded the liberties that we are. Liberties that I take for granted every day. The fact that I can write freely about my opinions, have access to the internet and a computer, and, as a woman, can even read and write, makes me one of the luckiest people alive.
Other parts of the world are plagued by devastation: fighting, war, hunger, poverty, sexism, and racism. Sure, these issues affect Americans, but the sheer concept that we can audibly discuss and, sometimes, complain about them makes, quite literally, a world of difference. At 23 years old, I have received an exceptional education, travelled the world, and have chosen my own life’s path. I have voiced my opinion, argued with others, disagreed with politics, and participated in voting for the people that represent our amazing country. Many, I’d even say most, have not experienced these luxuries.
Today is one of the days where I think twice about why and how I am afforded these luxuries. Honestly, I should think about this daily, but I’d be lying if I said that I did. In the almost 250 years that America has been established, we’ve faced many wars and have lost many men and women in combat. Those who have served, each and every service person, in any and every position, has made a difference in my life and yours. I cannot even imagine giving up the luxuries that these men and women have fought for, and, to this day, continue to fight for.
Every day, men and women stare death in the face to fight for us, to protect us, and uphold the rights given to every American. The selflessness of servicemen is immeasurable. They fight for their families, they fight for themselves, they fight for what they believe in, and they fight for strangers. And, for this, we can never be thankful enough.