by Mike Berry • 4 min read
The last Monday in May. For the majority of Americans, it marks the unofficial start of summer. A three-day weekend. Open the pool. Fire up the grill. Memorial Day is upon us.
But for many, the last Monday in May is a day of somber remembrance. It is a day to honor the selfless service and sacrifice of those who gave the last full measure of devotion to this nation. As an Afghanistan veteran, I always pause on Memorial Day to remember one of my buddies, a fellow young Marine Corps officer who was taken from us far too soon.
Like many veterans, I am often thanked for my service. Even though I appreciate the sentiment, it does generate a bit of awkwardness. Saying “you’re welcome” just doesn’t seem appropriate. And I always felt the millions of Americans who gave their lives in service to our nation are the ones who really should be thanked. But as I reflect on Memorial Day and what it means, I believe the best way I can express my gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice is to live a life worthy of their sacrifice.
Thankfully, I have the opportunity to do that at First Liberty Institute. The opportunity to devote my career to fighting for what matters most to me is a true blessing, especially when it comes to defending religious freedom within our military.
But you don’t have to be a religious liberty attorney in order to honor America’s fallen. There are countless ways we can demonstrate our gratitude each day.
For starters, take the time to learn about America’s history—preferably, its true history, not the wildly distorted version being propagated by cultural elites and taught in many public schools. It is important to capture the values and ideals for which so many American patriots were willing to fight and die. Principles such as religious freedom and a commitment to the rule of law set us apart from every other nation. But they are only meaningful insofar as they are upheld.
President Reagan famously observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for (and) protected.”
Because of the brave men and women we commemorate on Memorial Day, the freedom we enjoy is unlikely to be taken by force anytime soon. We are more likely to see it slip away long before that. Indeed, apathy is perhaps the greatest threat to freedom.
This Memorial Day, as we splash, eat and play, let us take time to honor, remember, and commemorate those who fought for and protected our freedom to ensure it does not go extinct. Our very ability to enjoy today is owed to the millions of Americans who sacrificed all of their tomorrows.
Awaiting Decision in Our U.S. Navy SEAL Case
We argued our U.S. Navy SEALs case at a federal appeals court in February. We faced off against the Biden administration and Pentagon officials who have pursued a punitive and vindictive approach toward service members who requested a legal, religious accommodation to the vaccine mandate. We’re waiting for the court’s ruling.
Our military heroes—including some of First Liberty’s own team members—have been mistreated, discriminated against, denied deployment and advancement opportunities, or even thrown out of the military simply because they wanted to serve in a manner consistent with their beliefs.
Just as America’s men and women in uniform never give up on their country, we at First Liberty will never give up on them. They have sacrificed so much for us, and we’ll continue defending them and winning critical legal battles to protect their rights.
Please continue to pray for our Navy clients and all service members. Thousands of them will be impacted by this case. Your spiritual support is a shining light in this very dark and uncertain time, and let our military heroes know that you have their backs in this fight.
Additionally, also pray for the judges’ wisdom and discernment as they write their decision. No matter their philosophy of the law and the Constitution, we’re praying they all agree to protect thousands of service members who make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedoms.