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Protecting Freedom: It's What We Do
As published in the Philadelphia Inquirer Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Washington, DC, Monday, May 29, 2006

Philadelphia Inquirer  Mon, May. 29, 2006 

Protecting Freedom: It's What We Do

Each Memorial Day, America honors and mourns the loss of those who have given their lives to preserve our freedom and liberty.

This patriotic tradition of remembering and recognizing American heroes began shortly after the Civil War. Since then, millions of Americans have served and fought, and many thousands have died in the line of duty.

Like many who read this article, my life has been enriched by the freedom preserved for my generation by those who defeated the Axis powers during World War II. Another generation of Americans maintained our freedoms during the long 40 years of the Cold War and the bloody battles of Korea and Vietnam.

America stands for freedom and liberty and has always been willing to defend it. This is what we do as a nation. Brave Americans continue this noble and sacred calling today as another great generation battles the destructive forces of terrorism around the globe.

President Ronald Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We don't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same."

Reagan's words ring true today. Just as in the past, today's great generation of men and women in uniform preserves freedom for our children and grandchildren.

This Memorial Day, Americans again remember the service, mourn the loss and honor the memory of each of our fallen heroes. We also recognize and respect the sacrifices and sorrow of their devoted families, friends and loved ones.

Each of us owes them all a deep debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. The nation remembers with humble thankfulness.