I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with their freedom.
On this Memorial Day, is this the country our parents, grandparents, and ancestors fought for, a welcoming home where the youngest, oldest, and poorest among us can thrive?
Did they foresee, fight, or die for a country that must now mourn its children and residents almost every week due to gun violence in their fight for America’s freedom?
Did they serve our country so we could continuously fight at home, where anyone could gain access to a war machine and kill innocents?
Isn’t it dishonorable that Americans won’t be bothered to do the very least, to administer background checks to purchase firearms, like one must do to obtain a fishing license?
That some idolize weapons of war in the name of religion.
Americans have failed to honor those sacrifices. A few make life miserable for the many, destroying freedom.
It’s not freedom to have to lock public school doors.
It’s not freedom to only allow for one door to be opened in a school.
It’s not freedom when schools must be like forts.
It’s not freedom when armed guards must stand at school entrances.
It’s not freedom when schools need metal detectors.
It’s not freedom when children must be traumatized by unproven lockdown drills.
It’s not freedom when teachers are supposed to carry and use guns like it’s the OK Corral.
It’s not freedom when parents and educators tuck their children in with picture books to explain shootings.
It’s not freedom for adults to have to learn how to talk to kids about school shootings: An age-by-age guide.
It’s not freedom to watch your classmates or teachers die before you!
And it’s not freedom to worry about gun violence due to the beautiful color of your skin or who you are.
And this is just school!
It is not freedom to fear the grocery store, the theater, attending a concert, going to a restaurant, to church, and the many more places we can lose our lives due to an act of violence.
Those in the past went to war to protect our freedoms. If we want to honor them honestly, we will instate gun laws that are fair and safe—that work to remove guns from the hands of those who should not own them.
At least 88 percent of Americans want background checks.
Our country shouldn’t be only about the 2nd amendment, especially when it makes us unsafe.
It will take time. It will take courage. It’s an enormous task. But we must do it.
On this Memorial Day, too much sadness exists today from decades of shootings for gun control to not happen.
Let us reflect on this day, remembering those families who have lost loved ones to gun violence, especially recent victims, the children and teachers of Uvalde, the shoppers at Tops Market, and those lost in our communities that fly under our radar but whose families equally mourn.
And remember those who died to protect us, who sought to make America a safer and more just country to live in peace and love. Let us make them proud.