The Best Memorial Day Tribute

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The Best Memorial Day Tribute - as published in the Syosset-Jericho Tribune
By Rabbi Chanan Krivisky
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Although both of my grandfathers, many uncles and men from my wife’s side of the family have fought in the United States Armed Forces, I am glad to say that none have perished (although my wife’s grandfather, Milton Segal, the lead bombardier in D-Day was officially dead for 6 months). We Jews have served in the U.S. Armed Forces far beyond our numerical proportion in the general population and have served with distinction garnering thousands of awards.  In fact, oldest Veterans Organization is Jewish!  But this article is going to focus on a broader topic – what are the United States Armed Forces fighting for? What is so important that so many brave Americans have had to make the ultimate sacrifice?
On Memorial Day we pay tribute to those who died in service, and our hearts and minds are reminded of the reason that they paid the ultimate price on our behalf.
The greatest concentration of the best of the world is found right here in America and the rest of the world relies on America for all manner of support. We here in America need to recognize the historical mission that G-d has placed in our hands at a time when morality, truth and liberty are fighting for survival both at home and abroad.  America’s culture of tolerance and freedom is a unique opportunity for unhindered material and spiritual growth.  This uniquely American privilege is definitely worth fighting for.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, extolled the vision of the Founding Fathers, a vision of a country in which "In G-d We Trust," without fear of repercussion.  The very first sentence of the First Amendment of the Constitution secures our inalienable right to freedom of religion (not freedom from religion).  This is right millions throughout the world would die for, and many of our best and brightest have died protecting.
It is a country dictated on the premise of kindness, which allows for everyone to worship freely and supports education and humanitarian efforts.  Success as a nation, and as a positive actor on the world stage, is rooted in our professed relationship with G-d, under Whose Sovereignty we proclaim in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Unfortunately, recently, our right to worship has come under attack from all sides.  Without these rights, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and professed in all canons of American life, we would be doomed to chaos and self-destruction. 
Surely, those who fought and died for our right to worship, would not want their sacrifice to be in vain.  It is up to us to exercise our rights as fully as possible and to proactively seek furtherance of the most seminal of American ideals.  This is the best tribute we can give on this Memorial Day.