by Jason Cruise
I'm not exactly sure how core values get lost. I suppose there's countless ways in which we lose touch with the bedrock beliefs that make up our worldview.
I do know, however, that we take our core values as Americans for granted, and we do it often. We hear words like freedom, but most of us have never been held captive at the end of another man's gun. We grin when words like patriot are spoken, yet many of us have never felt what it was like to sleep while wet under the blanket of combat.
With little effort one can detect that President Reagan was struggling to finish his speech on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984, holding back tears as he spoke directly to the unknown soldier being laid to rest. President Reagan called him, "dear son" in words that came from the heart of a father who actually believed in the idea of a great America.
I do not know how our core values get lost, but I know that at least one way, one most common way, is when a dad fails to explain to his sons and daughters just why it is we are called the "land of the free and the home of the brave." We must tell the story, in any way we can, to our sons and daughters, or what's left of our core values will surely be gone forever within but a few generations.
I never really know the best way to tell the story of Memorial Day to my sons, for my oldest is just now getting to an age where he can understand sacrifice on some levels. Different ideas cross my mind, and I never seem to find the one that fits best.
Today, on this Memorial Day, perhaps to try and give him a new perspective, I am going to take my oldest son, Cole, to the Veterans Cemetery.
It's a beautiful, solemn place filled with white crosses that clad the hills of Middle Tennessee. There I will tell him that he gets to play baseball because he is free. He gets to go hunting, and own a gun, because the men before him died for his 2nd Amendment rights.
I will tell him that the idea of freedom is just that ... an idea. I want him to know that ideas can be stolen and replaced unless we remember that there are truths worth dying for, and the men buried before him did that very thing, so that one day a little boy could live a life they never got to finish.