05/27/06 — A day in honor: Profound sacrifices form foundation of nation’s freedom

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A day in honor: Profound sacrifices form foundation of nation’s freedom

Tomorrow is really the day when we remember.

Or, at least, when we are supposed to remember.

Across the nation, millions of Americans will spend Monday enjoying picnics, reuniting with their families and celebrating the fact that they do not have to go to work for one more day.

They will recall, in the back of their minds, that this is a holiday for a reason.

And, if they have a veteran in their family or have lost someone they loved in service to his or her country, they probably will try to educate those around them about why they should be flying a flag or decorating a veterans’ memorial.

Memorial Day is not the official kickoff for summer — although it has earned that moniker over the decades. Memorial Day is the time when we acknowledge, remember and thank those who have given their lives to preserve the freedoms so many of us take for granted.

There are names of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines across several generations whose young lives were cut short to pave the way for the strong and free country we have today.

They were the heroes on the front lines of all wars through America’s history. They are men and women, past and present, whose love of country came before their own need to preserve their safety.

Their sacrifices are noted on their individual headstones in cemeteries across the nation and in a much larger way on several national monuments erected in their honor.

They are remembered by families who know just how enormous a loss it was for them to die at such a young age — and whose lives will never be the same because of the time they missed with them.

There are plenty of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives we need to thank, too, today.

As we prepare to mark Memorial Day, we need to do more than pick up a few extra hotdogs at the grocery store. We need to make sure our flags are flying and that we share the stories of some of the men and women who sacrificed so much for all of us so long ago — and for those who continue to do so today.

Visiting a monument or simply placing a wreath by a family member’s grave is a way to acknowledge their sacrifices — and a way to put the word “memorial” back into the holiday.

Published in Editorials on May 27, 2006 11:21 PM