Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember the people who died serving in our military. Those people deserve the honor. Unfortunately, it’s become co-opted to say these people died “protecting our freedom”. It sounds patriotic and respectful, but it’s not true. Soldiers are protecting the country, but our freedoms are protected by our Constitution. Our Constitution is threatened and defended every day, but not by any military.
Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
The people who protect our freedom every day are lawyers, including politicians and judges, who fight to uphold the Constitution. It’s protected by journalists, who inform and educate the world about threats to the Constitution. People have died doing those jobs too but no one memorializes them as having “protected our freedom”.
I’m grateful that there are people who are willing to risk their lives serving in our military, and I’m equally grateful to the people who spent decades studying the Constitution and the Law and get up and go to work every day fighting threats to our freedoms. When the ACLU sues someone who infringes on someone else’s civil rights, they are protecting your freedom from those who would like to take your rights away. When a lawyer sues a corporation in what people call “a frivolous lawsuit”, they are protecting your freedom to have your voice heard (and having it heard peacefully). When an “activist judge” makes a decision you don’t agree with, they are protecting your freedom from those who disagree with you. When a newspaper publishes a story you don’t want to have heard, they are protecting your freedom to publish a story you want to have heard.
Memorial Day is supposed to commemorate those who died serving in the military. Let’s keep it that way. However, if Memorial Day is going to be changed to be the holiday we honor those who died protecting our freedom, it should include dead lawyers, politicians and journalists.