Arlington National CemetaryOn this Memorial Day, would those who fell in order to secure and maintain our freedom find the sacrifice worth it? Do those families who will look across the table and see an empty seat feel their loss is being honored?

On virtually every issue we are a country divided. From gays in the Boy Scouts to the IRS snooping around in the personal telephone calls of reporters, those who are informed fall squarely into two camps on each issue. But that’s not the division. The real division in our country is those who are informed and those who are not.

Our citizens for the most part are pitifully undereducated. Not in the traditional sense, although many feel that is true as well, no this void of education is in the ways of the world and what is happening beyond our sphere of influence that has a dramatic impact on us. What happens elsewhere has long-lasting, often irreversible consequences.

Sadly, most of our nation is wrapped up in the exploits of Kanye and Kim, the sensational trial of Jodi Arias, and the day-to-day challenges of just getting by. It is truly astounding that the Boston Marathon Bombing story is almost completely forgotten until a person of interest is shot and killed by interviewing authorities. And just as quickly it will be forgotten again. Yet, whether Jodi lives or dies dominates the airwaves as if her story and life will impact any of ours. Let me help you – it won’t. It’s chewing gum for the brain, nothing more.

Which begs the question, “Was the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers and their families worth it?” Is this the country they thought they were defending when they gave their all?

Sacrifice is something our country has forgotten as well. We believe that sacrifice is cruel and fail to recognize the honor and duty in sacrifice. This is the motivating factor for a young man or woman to join our armed forces as it was in past generations. I recently heard a story of a man who served in World War I and the tried to reenlist for World Ward II at the age of sixty. Somehow I don’t think he was the only one. Many of our wounded warriors return to active duty.

We have forgotten sacrifice in part because it is so painful to bear. And we have most certainly decided that pain is unacceptable in any form. Therefore, we avoid the pain of sacrifice at all costs. But we’ve also forgotten sacrifice because we cannot begin to understand someone who would die for us. This is why so many have a problem with Christianity. Why would God send his Son to die for our sins? It makes no sense. Not only are we not worthy, but he’s God! He could do anything he wants.

And there’s the crux of the problem with sacrifice. We know deep down that we couldn’t do it. And yet there they are, the miles and miles of white tombstones in cemeteries across this land, marking the place where a soldier rests. A soldier who died for us.

This Memorial Day, as you chat at the backyard barbecue or listen to the news, whether you find great pride or you find anger and frustration in what is happening in our country, whether you sit in disgust over the behavior of those on the other side of the aisle from you or whether you find amazing collaboration, whether you find yourself unemployed, under employed, employed, or financially blessed, and as you wonder why so many people are so uninformed, you may begin to wonder if their sacrifice was worth it.

But this is what they died for. You have the freedom to speak you mind and the freedom to practice your faith. You have the freedom to learn all you can learn or to be completely uninformed. And you have the freedom to recognize and honor their sacrifice. One way to honor their service is to sacrifice some of your time and become informed. Freedom requires an informed, engaged, and committed electorate that understand the issues, contacts their representatives, and exercises their right to vote.

But particularly on Memorial Day, you can honor their sacrifice by visiting a cemetery or a family who has lost someone through service in our Armed Forces. Perhaps spending some time on line looking up your ancestors would reveal sacrifice in your family tree. Or you could just put out a flag and say a prayer. Do something to enlighten you and your family to the sacrifice made on your behalf. You may have to sacrifice a bit, but it will honor theirs.

Most will celebrate by going to the beach, visiting friends and relatives, a quick dip in the pool, or a cook out. Aside from a day off work they’ll barely know it is Memorial Day, much less the purpose of the holiday. They’ll go about our day with barely a thought of those brave men and women this day is celebrating.

And that’s exactly what they died for. They died so you and I may have the freedom to choose. We can choose to be as informed or uninformed as we please. If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

You may think this country isn’t worth the sacrifice, isn’t worth the lives lost, but the brave men and women who died for you and me did and that is what really matters.