Liberty is not inevitable. Freedom isn’t free.

In some places, a moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual recognition of the price of peace and freedom. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

This pittance of time pays respect to those who gave their lives in our defense. Our remembrance of their gift is not important to them. They don’t know they won. Were they with us still, they would minimize their contribution. If they would discuss it at all.

Remembering these heroes’ values is vitally important to us, lest we gradually come to think that things had to be the way they are, and not some other way. We could become convinced that our present advantages were owed to us, destined and easy: The “natural order of things.”

This is an exceedingly dangerous belief, appropriate to no one: Held only by those who believe the natural order of things guarantees their personal safety and well-being – regardless of their effort, despite their unexamined ideals.

In reality, things are the way they are because some people were – and are – so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense.

They died defending your right to choose to observe a minute of silence.

It is your choice.