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May 24, 2024

Saluting America’s Champions

It’s time to honor and mourn all the American military men and women who died while serving in the United States armed forces.

We can argue forever about left-right politics and why the country is going to ruin.

But it is Memorial Day weekend.

Let’s forget the endless political warfare being waged in Washington, D.C.

It’s time to honor and mourn all the American military men and women who died while serving in the United States armed forces.

They are the ones whose sacrifices made it possible for us to debate and bicker so freely.

They are the heroes who fought in the battles that allow us to be the great country we are today.

And it is on this weekend that we really need to remember them and thank them for paying the ultimate price to keep us free.

I know many heroic war stories. As I wrote recently, I learned them on any given Saturday morning while sitting in the right-front seat of a station wagon as my father drove me to his Malibu ranch.

My father never forgot our fallen military heroes and he knew how to honor them with beautiful words and powerful deeds.

Forty years ago he was the first president to go to the coast of Normandy to commemorate the Americans who landed on the beaches of France in 1944 on D-Day and helped “to free a continent.”

In his speech to World War II veterans on June 6, 1984, he called “the boys of Pointe du Hoc” who so bravely “took the cliffs” from the Germans “champions” and said they knew why they were fighting.

“You all knew that some things are worth dying for,” he said.

“One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny …”

It’s fitting that “champions” from all our wars will be honored this weekend at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

But you don’t have to be a president to pay your respects to the Americans who fought and died in World War II or in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

You can do what my son Cameron does every year — make this weekend a history lesson for your family.

Take your kids to a cemetery on Memorial Day. Look at gravesites flying American flags. Explain who the soldiers and sailors were and where they fought and died.

Do some research on Google and find the story of a local Medal of Honor recipient from “the Greatest Generation” and tell your kids of his bravery.

And don’t forget those sons and daughters who died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Even if you disagree 100 percent with the war they were sent overseas by politicians to fight in, it was their call to duty and they took the oath.

People always ask me what they can do year-round to honor the current generation of men and women in uniform.

I tell them that if you walk into a restaurant and see a member of the military, buy them lunch or dinner and say “thank you.”

When I’m flying, because I fly in business first class, if I see a military guy get on the plane, many times I stand up and say, “Hey, thank you. You sit here and give me your ticket.”

As my father taught me, and as my son teaches his kids, it’s really not that hard to honor or thank America’s champions.

Copyright 2024 Michael Reagan

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