May 26, 2020 – Hartford, WI – We are living in interesting times. In a recent poll, almost 70 percent of participants did not know why we celebrate Memorial Day.
What are we called to remember? Many said it was to honor veterans. That’s Veteran’s Day. Others said it was to remember the branches of the military. That’s Armed Forces Day. Some said it was to remember what the flag stands for. That’s Flag Day.
Memorial Day is to honor those who served their country and who demonstrated the last full measure of their devotion by making the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms we hold dear and enjoy today.
Each one of us in uniform swore an oath to defend the Constitution and our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This means we must stand together and defend our rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly, those God-given rights enumerated in the First Amendment.
There is no asterisk there which states these rights can be set aside for an entire population. No politician, no unelected bureaucrat, no government agency, can remove these rights from us. The men and women we honor today understood that.
During the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War I, more soldiers and sailors died of food poisoning, illness, disease and yes, pandemics, than from enemy bullets.
We never surrendered our freedoms as an entire nation to win a war. Hartford has led the way to show we understand we can stay safe in these times and maintain our freedoms.
This is not a rigid dichotomy. We can do both. Those who fought and died for those freedoms would be proud of your actions today. I am.
Timothy C. Michalak
Mayor – City of Hartford, WI
Photo courtesy Tina Pridemore