I went downtown this morning to watch the Memorial Day parade. I thought it appropriate, even necessary, to commemorate the service of so many men and women who have worn the uniform and taken the oath to defend the country and the U.S. Constitution. Tears welled in my eyes several times, especially seeing parade watchers who — no doubt — have proudly served their country and don’t miss an opportunity to show it.

While I feel I have worked hard to earn what I have, I also recognize that I live a very privileged life, afforded many opportunities so easily taken for granted. Were it not for the men and women who defend my liberty, whether in theory or practice, I might not be so fortunate.

Decades ago, my uncle served in the Pacific during World War II. My mother supported the war, moving from Reno to work in the shipyards in Oakland.

This week, we learned that the 1,000th soldier was killed in Afghanistan. The toll since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is some 4,400. Almost 37,500 have been injured in both theaters, which may be a low number considering under-reported traumas such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Many service men and women have done multiple tours through Iraq and Afghanistan, in some cases both parents leaving children with relatives.

Sacrifice. Every one who enlists and takes the oath makes a personal sacrifice in order to defend the ideals of liberty and freedom. Some make the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives. I am grateful for and thank you for your service and devotion.

May we, the citizens of these United States, prove worthy of your sacrifice.

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