The first soldier to give his life in service to America was Isaac Davis, a gunsmith shot through the heart at the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775. The most recent was Kyle Milliken, a Navy senior chief petty officer killed May 5 by Islamist irregulars near Mogadishu, Somalia. Overall, some 1.2 million young Americans have died while under arms, more than one-half of them during the Civil War.
Monday is their day—Memorial Day, when Americans traditionally take a moment to hold in their hearts a thought, a prayer, for those who, as Abraham Lincoln noted, “gave the last full measure of devotion” to the ideals expressed so profoundly in the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” And so it goes—a statement of fundamental purpose, a potential death warrant for those who signed it, and, above all, a unique distillation of centuries of moral evolution, philosophical disputation, and political conflict.
A document worth dying for, in other words.
But original purposes fade over time, obscured by shifting understandings of history and by a failure to grasp that what’s obvious today was not necessarily so clear at the beginning. This seems especially true in America today, where an escalating loss of faith in the animating principles of what Lincoln also termed the “last great hope of earth” is well under way.
Source: for MORE