Left: Arlington National Cemetery
(Toledo, OH) While sitting in my backyard with family and friends today, I realized how lucky I am to live in the United States. I also know that the relative freedom and prosperity I enjoy is owed in part to the sacrifices of millions of American military personnel.
I do not write these thoughts as a sort of insipid Hallmark bit of fluff, the obligatory holiday pat on the back to the military that spring up on patriotic days like today.
I am lucky, for I could have been one of the one billion people in the world who go to bed hungry every night, or one of the nearly three billion people who exist on less than $2 a day.
The sacrifices made by millions of American military personnel have secured for the United States its preeminent position as the dominant world superpower. Many people use the term "American Empire" to describe the United States in the 21st century, but today is not the day to debate the merits of American imperialism.
And yet, it matters not whether the causes for which American soldiers fought and died have always had moral justification. The fact that citizens believed they fought a noble cause - and willingly gave their lives - is reason enough to give them our thanks.
We can direct any ire - if deserved - at the federal politicians who make the decisions about sending our troops to war.
Today we should pause and remember the contributions of Americans past and present who were willing to die for their country.
Tomorrow we can argue about whether they have ever been deceived.