Remember those who protect your freedom

As a free society, we have been rewarded with so many blessings by men and women in uniform who we have never even met. People walk into their place of business each day, focused on their work, and afforded the opportunity to achieve the American dream and support their families in peace.

Every morning, millions of parents drop their children off at school so that they may receive an education without fear of persecution. But seldom do we stop and think about how special these seemingly everyday events really are.

It is not like that everywhere. And freedom is not guaranteed for eternity here in America either.

Ronald Reagan knew that freedom was never more than one generation away from extinction. He said that freedom in America was not passed "to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

I hope that we would take time to reflect on the sacrifices made for freedom every day. But on one specific day each year, on Memorial Day, we should gather together to reflect on the blessings of the freedoms that we have and the sacrifices that were made to have them.

We must never forget that all of these blessings stem from a single gift - a soldier's gift - of freedom. The gift of freedom is an undeniable pillar of American society rooted in the intentions of our forefathers over 230 years ago, and constantly safeguarded since then by our bravest - the American soldier.

Time and time again, the American soldier has been called upon to sacrifice, many making the ultimate sacrifice, to grant us the gift of freedom that we enjoy every day.

From the initial fight for freedom in the American Revolution, through the threats of Nazism and Communism, until today's deadly struggle against extremist terrorists, there has always been one constant, the unwavering dedication of the American soldier.

In this unending struggle of ideas and belief in freedom, these uniformed men and women have worked tirelessly to protect these ideals.

While we see those in uniform as protectors of freedom, their role is truly much greater.

The American soldier is an emissary to the world who not only selflessly defends the freedoms of Americans, but takes with him the seeds of freedom wherever he goes and plants it with the knowledge that a nation of people who are free are capable of great things.

They believe so deeply in the gift of freedom that they will give their lives so that generations of people they will never meet will continue to enjoy this gift for generations.

The soldier's commitment to freedom is ever constant. We live in a wonderful society, blessed with the opportunity to work hard, educate our children, provide for our families - and even enjoy a beautiful Memorial Day weekend with our friends and families.

But while we enjoy these opportunities that are born out of freedom, let us all remember that freedom is a gift that the American soldier has given us.

And on this Memorial Day, to every American soldier, our nation says "Thank you."

Rep. John Linder, R-Duluth, has served in the House of Representatives since 1992. Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.