Oftentimes I think back to President Lincoln and his legendary Gettysburg address. It was written quickly on his way to a dedication of the battlefield, but it was not quickly passed over in its meaning. Instead, it conveys a powerful message, one that came from considering the act of remembrance, of dedication, and the deeper meaning behind these ceremonies.

His point was simply this: that a ceremony to dedicate the battle was inadequate to what that battlefield symbolized. Lives had been lost on that field, many of them young men who had the world ahead of them, young men with passion and idealism that is characteristic of all of us when we enter adulthood. So Lincoln stated that the ceremony did not hallow that ground, but instead it was sanctified by the lives lost on that battlefield at Gettysburg.

But what does Gettysburg mean for us today? Well, if it was the lives given that consecrated that battlefield, then could we say that our nation itself is also consecrated by the lives of those who fought and gave their lives? And if we live in a country that has been consecrated by the passion and idealism of those that fought to preserve it, should we not pay due respect?

I think if we had more of this perspective, much of the division and in-fighting going on would take a back seat to our gratitude. It is when we truly begin to realize the high cost to preserve our liberty that we realize how much we take for granted. We then gain the necessary perspective on what we truly have and what we truly enjoy. But not only should we consider the sacrifice of those we memorialize, but also consider the countless others here and now that take on a great risk to protect us, protect our nation, and to protect the values that make our country so great. And this is something that should unite all of us in our values, respect and gratitude.

This is why the ORA makes it a point to honor our veterans, first responders, and military personnel, past and present. We dedicate this issue of the Sharpshooter to you all, so that we remember, honor, and show our gratitude. Thank you for your invaluable service.