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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Taking It All For Granted


Remember the sacrifices of our soldiers

Have you ever felt taken for granted by someone? You know, when you give more than 50% in the relationship, and the other person in the relationship is undervalued and underappreciating you? You’re always the one being so accommodating of them and making excuses for their expectations or sense of entitlement.

Oh, sure, they will claim they appreciate you for what you do (and have done) for them and the vital role you play in their lives — but their words and deeds don’t always seem to match up, do they? Feeling undervalued and underappreciated is surely where the adage “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” came from — and it’s true.

But why is that? Often, it’s not intentional; it just happens because we are so caught up in the busyness of life that we simply can’t find the time for it all — or so we tell ourselves — and suddenly, we’re too busy for what really matters. How many times have you explained how busy you are by saying, “I gotta do what I gotta do,” and taking someone for granted?

The dictionary has a couple of definitions for “take for granted,” and one of them is “to be expected.” The other is “to value (something or someone) too lightly: to fail to properly notice or appreciate (someone or something that should be valued).”

And this got me thinking — do we take our country for granted? Absolutely, and every single day.

Take the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. Do you know that only 20% of U.S. adults say that they are very familiar with Memorial Day’s purpose?

So, before we go any further, and for you other 80% percent reading here, you should know that Memorial Day is to honor those who died fighting the nation’s wars, even though you may be most familiar with Memorial Day as signaling the “unofficial” beginning of the summer vacation season each year, not to mention crazy low sale prices on everything from mattresses to mini-vans.

And while Americans do enjoy the three-day weekend that Memorial Day brings, how many of us appreciate the historical connection of liberty and war? Or understand our freedom is not free but a gift from our soldiers? How many of us mourn the almost 3 million soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat or as Lincoln described it, “the last full measure of devotion” since the founding of our nation? These men and women have defended our nation’s liberty (which too many today take for granted) and for whom the Memorial Day observance seeks to honor.

Now, our children know only about backyard barbecues, swimming pools, family get-togethers, and mom or dad having a day off from work on Memorial Day. They don’t know the difference between socialism and pacifism or even comprehend the doctrine of achieving peace through strength. They know not of car bombings in their neighborhood markets, air raid drills, religious intolerance, limitations on what news they can read, what subjects they may study, or how they may dress or express themselves politically or otherwise.

No, our children may not yet fully understand what it means to live in a free country. Still, their lack of understanding is a testament to the achievements and selfless service of generations of our veterans. Our children only know freedom because someone else paid the cost of admission for them (and for us).

We must never take those sacrifices for granted. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not endure long.”

So, as Memorial Day approaches, let us remember that we need not wait until the last Monday in May each year to honor and appreciate — and not take for granted — those who died protecting our freedoms. For me, it should fall on every day of the year.

And yes, yes, yes, it’s only human nature not to know what you have until it’s been lost. The hard truth is, when it comes to our country, most of us know exactly what we have — there’s just too many of us who think we will never lose it.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.


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