We all know what today is. It’s Memorial Day.

Memorials are good things. The Bible uses the word about two dozen times, so memorials must be important.

The reason they are important is because we need to remember lessons and sacrifices from the past.

The dictionary definition of “memorial” is “something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.”

Memorial Day was originally a time to remember the huge and almost unimaginable sacrifices our country made during the War Between the States – in which more Americans died than in all previous and succeeding wars combined.

America was ripped apart just 150 years ago.

Do Americans remember why?

Yes, certainly slavery was an issue, but that cursed institution was scarcely the only reason – probably not even the principal cause.

It was a conflict mainly about government power – how it would be limited and shared among the federal government and the states.

American men and women are still giving their lives today in wars and battles – making the ultimate sacrifice for their country, so that those who survive can remains free.

Memorial Day is principally for them. It’s a day we grieve for them and their families and give thanks to those who laid down their lives for their friends and countrymen.

But Memorial Day should also be a time for Americans to think about why they died and what they tried to preserve for the rest of us, because, all too often, we take liberty for granted.

Liberty is not something that should be taken lightly, because, in the history of the world, it is fleeting, scarce and often short-lived.

I raise this point today because America is divided like it has not been divided since the War Between the States.

Too many Americans have forgotten what made our country so special – unique, really, in the history of the world.

Our founders gave us a system of government that, for the first time in the history of the world shackles were removed from the people and placed on the government. America was to be what ancient Israel was intended to be – a nation in which individuals were accountable first and foremost to God and only secondarily to state power.

There would be no king in America. The Constitution diffused central power and strictly limited it. The founders used checks and balances to be sure federal power did not grow at the expense of liberty and the power of individual states.

Today, once-sovereign states have abdicated their powers to Washington. Individual citizens have abdicated their rights to a centralized government. And the trend in this direction is what threatens to rip our country apart again, like it was ripped apart back in the 19th century.

The founders recognized that only a people who could govern themselves as sovereigns accountable to God would be worthy and capable of maintaining liberty. We must ask ourselves this Memorial Day whether we are still that kind of people. Are we worthy and capable of self-government, or do we need to be ruled through the terror of the state?

Think about that today during the parades and the barbecues and the family gatherings.

I’m not trying to take the focus off of the people of valor who gave their lives for the preservation and maintenance of liberty – far from it. In fact, today, WND is one of the sponsors of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington where our fallen heroes will be remembered.

However, to ensure that their deaths were not in vain, we need a memorial to the dream they died for. We need to be eternally vigilant for liberty to truly honor them.

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