Memorial Day is upon us, the holiday we are asked to pause and reflect on the great and ultimate cost so many thousands of Americans in uniforms of the Armed Forces gave to defend the freedoms we all enjoy. We are reminded to be patriotic, to host Old Glory on our flagpoles.
    We are forever reminded that it's not all about record traffic jams as travelers head to the intestates and turnpikes; picnics, swimming and other ways we pursue recreation. We are reminded how sparse veteran's services have become and even parades aren't as well attended as they used to be.
    Lest anyone makes you feel guilty for enjoying the barbecue this three-day weekend, remember that the fact that we as a society has the leisure to relax and take in recreation, is in a way, thanks to the millions of Armed Forces personnel through the history of the United States, that have kept war largely at bay from out shores.
     Thankfully we are not engaged in bitter civil war with all its atrocities, mass exodus of refugees and forced preoccupation with survival. In such an atmosphere which does exist as we speak in this world, there is so little room for picnics, vacations, cultural and educational advancement as well as educational opportunities. We are still a nation more or less at peace- strained in recent years by waves of terrorism.
     We have managed somehow to hold on to the idea of inalienable rights and freedoms to be citizens who can choose their destiny, express themselves, worship as our hearts dictate, publish, bear arms and pick our own leaders- or peacefully remove them if necessary.
    To what end did our brave Americans on the battlefield, at sea and in the air shed their blood in the line of duty, or come home troubled with what we know today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? To what end did all those thousands who have served behind the scenes or during peace time, take the oath and don that uniform?
     What do we mean by "freedom?"
    These United States are challenged in many ways. Some say the Nation is crumbling, that its very foundation has been forgotten and forsaken. Others are delighted in the paths it has taken.
     We can be thankful we still have the freedom to debate how we have traveled and where we may be headed. Let's keep doing so in a civil way, and not forget that our leaders are elected by the people- those people who have cared enough to vote. Every one of us still has the right to help set the tone for public policy and priorities.