This Memorial Day in the U.S. — like every Memorial Day — we commemorate and remember those who’ve given their lives for our freedoms and our nation. “Given their lives” is really not accurate, though, as Andy Rooney noted — these soldiers died, plain and simple. They died so that in the future, our country might be safer or democracy might be nurtured in an otherwise hostile environment. They died so that great evils could be done away with in WWII (and WWI). They died so that politicians could wage endless, unwinnable wars for political ideals (Vietnam, Korea, and now Iraq). They died, quite simply, so that we could enjoy the freedoms we so often take for granted in our country.

I hope, like most people, that in the future war become less of an option for all countries, and diplomacy instead takes its place. Would that be so bad?

For every veteran and every active duty soldier and individual in military uniform — thank you. Thank you for the sacrifice you continue to make every day on our behalf. And for every family who’s lost a soldier due to service to their country — thank you. Thank you for your family member who’s made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. No words can ever express the debt we owe these brave men and women.