May we never, ever forget

  Today, in honor of Independence Day, I've decided to share something a little different than I normally do. The following is a narration written by my friend Matthew McCord for a performance of the "Hymn to the Fallen." It touches my heart in a profound way, and I hope that it will move you as well. Today, may we remember and celebrate as a nation what it means to have courage beyond our fears to stand for what is right.

personal-collection004"To those visionary patriots who gathered in Philadelphia to announce to the world for the first time the uniquely American ideal that we do believe that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights:

Today we remember you.

To those who were among the first to give their lives for liberty at Bunker Hill; to those who stood with one General Washington that winter at Valley Forge; to those who drove tyranny from American soil for the last time at Yorktown: Today we remember you.

To that brilliant collective of minds that gathered once again at that miracle in Philadelphia to pen the credo of American freedom, the United States Constitution, forever establishing a government of the people: Today we remember you.

To those who, in our nation's darkest hour, fought brother against brother and friend against friend, in that contest to determine whether a nation conceived in liberty can long endure; to those who fought to bring a new birth of freedom to this the last best hope of mankind on earth: Today we remember you.

To those who stood in the trenches of World War I, fighting oppression on foreign shores, and to those who, some twenty years later, perished at Pearl Harbor; to those who fought in the theater of the South Pacific at Manila, Luzon, and Midway; to those who raised the flag on Iwo Jima; and to those brave souls, who, with courage beyond their fears, stormed the beaches of Normandy, securing freedom for an entire world in what we now know as our nation's greatest generation: Today we remember you.

To those fought in Korea; to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam for the truth that democracy and freedom are no longer uniquely American ideas, but that they are engraved on the hearts of all men: Today we remember you.

To those who stand in the sands of the middle east: You send a message that no tyrant, no terrorist, no one who opposes freedom will ever be safe as long as there is a United States of America.

Because with a light that shines from 1776 to today, the torch of freedom has been passed from generation to American generation, and today, as always, the United States of America is a shining city on a hill.

But those of us who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we are free because you were brave. Look home from Heaven heroes. The Star Spangled Banner still waves.

So, to all who have pledged their allegiance with your blood, with your sacrifice, with your lives, from the heart of a grateful nation, in the most simple but honest words we have, we say, "thank you."

Today, we remember you. May we never, ever, forget."

-Matthew McCord