"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." - Abraham Lincoln 11/19/1863
This is perhaps the greatest speech ever written and even though it was spoken about the civil war, many lines still ring true today as we remember all the men and women who gave their lives defending the freedoms we hold so dear in this great country of ours. I am forever indebted to their sacrifices because I know how powerful these liberties are. There are many countries today where having a blog like this one would mean a death sentence. Apostasy, being a non-theist or atheist or agnostic, questioning the foundational beliefs of theistic religions, and general heresy and blasphemy can be grounds for severe punishment and torture or death. I am truly grateful for the freedom to speak my mind and the freedom to not practice any religion and the freedom to not be harassed for holding these positions. My true wish is that some day the whole world will have these types of freedoms. Where no one would be afraid of persecution for what they believe or think or say. That being able to question church dogmas would not carry with it a death sentence. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are inalienable rights of all humans. We hold these truths to be self-evident. Please take some time today to reflect on what Memorial Day means for you as you visit family and enjoy barbecues, and be to sure thank your service members every time you see one. They are the true heroes.