On this Memorial Day, I reflect on the liberties and freedoms all Americans are granted:
Freedom of speech
freedom to vote
freedom to practice or not to practice religion
freedom to criticize all levels of government
freedom to protest things that you do criticize
freedom to change the government on election day
freedom to read news that is not censored or filtered by government
freedom to do on the internet things that are not illegal and not worry about a governmental firewall stopping you
freedom to choose your life and what you want to do with it
freedom of economic mobility
freedom to be who you are which laws forcing you into the closest freedom of due process of law if accused of a crime
I’ve lived in countries where some, if not all, of these freedoms are pipe dreams. Malaysia has a national religion (Islam), as does Thailand (Buddhism). To criticize or question them can land you in prison.
South Korea has a been moving in the right direction, but since Lee Myung Bak (who Koreans I knew living there called Lee Myung Bush), the country has been tilting towards making Christianity a state religion.
I will not go into China, since we know none of those freedoms exist there and few people I know they (including my wife) don’t see the problem. Judaism isn’t one of the six recognized religions, so if I went to the Chabad House in Shanghai, my wife would be forbidden to enter because she doesn’t have a foreign passport.
As I reflect on the freedoms I gave up living overseas, I come to realize that while we do have our flaws and problems (as all countries do), I do love my country and what it is supposed to be and stand for internationally. I expect some arguments which I accept, but I truly believe in my heart that we are that example, willing to expose our dirty laundry to the entire world, show our faults and our strengths, and always work to overcome them.
Those we remember on Memorial Day embody that. Those we look to for defense and protection (no, not you police agencies) are truly the ones who are the best among us. We owe them everything and they should be given everything we, as a people, can give because of what they are willing to give up: Their lives.
This Memorial Day, I ask all Americans, to truly dedicate it to those who have served, alive or dead. My brother served for years and lost friends in wars overseas. One of my good friends visited the grave of his son who contracted cancer while on deployment and died fourteen years ago just two months after his 22nd birthday.
These are the true role models. The 58,000 names on the Vietnam War Memorial. The 351,000 lost being the original ANTIFA and fighting Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan. The 21,000 killed in Korea. Iraq01. Afghanistan. Iraq02.
We are at our best when those that served and lived are taken care of completely. . .and those that fought and died are honored completely.
Have a great Memorial Day wherever you all live. Thank an active duty GI. Thank a veteran. Remember those who never came home.
Aram S. Katz
Arizona House of Representatives
Legislative District #4.