No occasion could be more appropriate to set aside the political passions of the moment than Memorial Day.
Political debate is nothing new in America. From the decades before the Civil War--when duels between those representing opposing sides were not unheard of--until today, passions have run high in every decade.
The reason is simple: nothing is more central to our political system than the right to free and unfettered debate on the topic of the day, whether that is the establishment of the first national bank or the war in Afghanistan.
The other constant across the decades has been that that right was secured first and foremost by the willingness of American service members to lay down their lives to protect it. On this holiday, born in the aftermath of a terrible civil war that laid out a new and better notion of what America means as a country, I ask that each of you take a moment to thank a veteran for the liberty he or she has helped safeguard.