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BN Remembers: Memorial Day 2012

It's Monday morning and typically, this is the time and place for the Bruin Bites round-up of various tidbits of news from around the UCLA-iverse (or as some of you prefer, the Bruin-verse). But today is not an ordinary Monday. Yes, it's a three-day weekend, so my usual quips and gripes about returning to the weekly grind wouldn't fit today (as they usually open Bruin Bites), but today is a very special day to all of us.

Today is the day that we, as a nation, take a step back to remember and give thanks to the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the great promise of the radical experiment our forefathers embarked upon in 1775: that we can live in freedom; that we all can enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In the history of our democratic republic, it is estimated that 1.3 million (1,300,000) Americans have died in the service of their nation. 1.3 million in just 236+ years. How many people is that? It's roughly the population of either San Diego (the 8th largest city in America) or San Antonio (the 7th largest). More Americans have died for liberty than the entire population of the cities of San Francisco, Dallas, Baltimore, Boston, or Denver.

Those that died in America's name have come from all races, all creeds, both genders, and all walks of life. They are united in their service to the cause of liberty and in the solemn honor of giving the last full measure of devotion for their country.

So, today, many of us will enjoy barbeques on a warm, sunny day, probably with a beer and hot dog in hand. We'll spend the extra day of our weekend with friends or family. Our enjoyment of this day is the fruit of their labor, of their dedication, and of their selfless love for our nation.

So, cherish it and remember all of the brave men and women who gave up the chance to throw the ball with their child, to sit by the pool, to drink an ice-cold beer on a hot day, all in the name of our liberty. And remember, that right now, on the opposite side of the world, young men and women in uniform are prepared and willing to join that honored fraternity of heroes, all in the name of liberty.

Enjoy your Memorial Day and God bless America.