America has, unfortunately, all too often, become a nation of noise. At some point, screaming replaced reason and vitriol supplanted logic. History teaches us, of course, that the past, as well as the present, will always contain varying degrees of evil. And yet, one must study history long and hard to find any period of corruption equaling the present age; to find an epoch wherin logic was so completely banished from the political landscape. Today, bare allegation and fact are, in the eyes of many, equal. Few bother to notice that most partisan allegeations are devoid of any factual predicate. Today people are awarded the title of patriot by self proclamation. Campaign contributions are magically transformed into free speech and corporations are found to be people. Cash has, in all venues of our government superseded morality, reason and veracity. It is, unfortunately, a rare thing to encounter a man or woman of character today. Someone willing to risk their happiness, their health, their life for a greater cause. Someone willing to sacrifice and suffer for their beliefs, whether or not they’re standing in the limelight, whether or not there’s a TV camera rolling. Heroes do exist, but we tend to ignore them, their presence is a painful and inconvenient reminder to all of those who live by the shortcut. I guess what I'm saying is that, it’s easy to forget that once upon a time that heroes were not uncommon, that they weren’t an endangered species. We forget that once upon a time, it was not considered foolish to live by one’s convictions. That it was not considered naive to participate meaningfully in our democracy. That’s why I love Memorial Day. Because once a year we can remember that there once was a time when integrity seemed to matter.