The Living Memory of The Fallen Soldier

by Max Maxwell

We have received from our fallen soldiers more than a moment of relief, more than the convenience of a discount at a bargain outlet. Their gift is the gift of a bond of citizenship that is fundamental to our well-being. It is a bond of faith that the nation they served is worthy of them being their best and giving their all. It is a bond of love that was born in the knowledge that the beauty, which lives when their fellow citizens are united, safe and thriving well, is a beauty worth dying for. Our fallen soldiers, who have come from all backgrounds of life, gave their all because their commitment to this beauty overcame every other consideration. The gift of their bond of citizenship touches every moment of our lives and every avenue of our well being. Their gift makes possible the future of our hopes and dreams. Most importantly, their gift is an inspired message about how we should conduct our lives.

We owe our fallen soldiers more than our thanks in a moment of remembrance.
Our debt to the soldiers, who believed that giving their all in service to our country was more important than their own well being and survival, is more than a moment of gratitude offered as casually as a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new grocery store. We owe them more for their service than the service of our lips.

For they have given us more than a safe space in which to abide. Their sacrifice is also an important teaching about what it means to abide in excellence. Their bond of citizenship, their vision of our beauty, and their sacrifice is a fundamental teaching about what it means to be a citizen. They teach us that to strive to be our best and to give our all to the common good is the duty of every citizen, no matter what avenue of life a citizen may travel. We cannot repay the fallen for their gift. Their reward is beyond our grasp. Our sacred debt to our fallen soldiers is to receive their gift in full. It is our obligation to not let this gift fall to the ground from neglect.

In order to receive the full measure of their gift, we must recognize their example and learn to fully value our own bond of citizenship, see a vision of our common beauty, commit ourselves to be our best, and give our all to the common good. We cannot be honestly grateful to our fallen soldiers if we do not receive the full measure of what they have given us. It is not thankful to offer a moment of lip service as we light up the barbecue grill on Memorial Day if we are we are also neglecting our own virtue and the good of our fellow citizens. For there is no genuine thankfulness if their worthy example is rejected. The fallen soldiers did not embrace their bond of citizenship unto their deaths so we could allow the destruction of our own bond of citizenship. They died to provide us a safe place so that our common beauty may thrive. When the highest ideals of good citizenship are kept alive, we honor our fallen soldiers because the great beauty that our soldiers gave their dying breath to keep alive rises to its full virtue.

To remember our fallen soldiers with more than words, we must honor them with the integrity of our living.

Remember them in your commitment to strive mightily to be your best.

Remember them in your own labors to make a safe place for your fellow citizens to thrive.

Remember them by not allowing the petty bigotries of special interests, partisan politics, philosophical differences, and social separations to destroy the common bond of our citizenship and thereby murder the life of the beauty for which they died.

Remember them in teaching your children the value of good citizenship.

Remember them by embracing the importance of justice and virtue in all your dealings with your fellow citizens.

In these living remembrances, we receive and honor the gift that our fallen soldiers died to offer.

In these living remembrances, we assure that our fallen soldiers have not died in vain.