To say that we can’t repay our debt to these warriors is not to say that we shouldn’t be good stewards of the fruits of their sacrifice. Indeed, the knowledge that all of our lives and opportunities are to some degree blood-bought should sanctify them for even our most secular citizens. Honor sacrifice by tending to the tree of liberty, by building something in your own turn that is worth defending.
And by remembering. Remember that living among us are men and women who do not have red ledgers. Theirs are thoroughly black. You can sometimes spot them — they live in the homes with the gold-star flag hanging in the window, they wear the gold-star pin, and you can find their sons or daughters by spotting a small American flag next to an otherwise nondescript gravestone.
The gold-star family members I know don’t ask for much. After all, what can you possibly give them? But they do ask that you remember. And so I do. From Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2007–08, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, I remember: Major Andrew Olmstead, Captain Thomas Casey, Sergeant Corey Spates, Captain Torre Mallard, Sergeant Phillip Anderson, Specialist Donald Burkett, Mr. Albert Haroutounian, Sergeant Gregory Unruh, Specialist Matthew Morris, Captain Ulises Burgos, Specialist Andre Mitchell, and Captain Michael Medders.