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Remember what Memorial Day is about

By Ben Rodgers

Many people will be firing up their grills and kicking back to relax and enjoy the long weekend, but I ask that everyone remembers the reason why.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, but more importantly it’s a day to honor those who died serving this country.

The freedoms we take for granted simply wouldn’t exist if not for the brave men and women that gave their lives for those freedoms.

I can opine all day long about freedom. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to peacefully assemble, freedom of religion, but the short of it is I didn’t sacrifice a thing.

I, like the vast majority of us, live a comfortable life because of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

So when you are biting into that second burger or downing that third beverage on Monday, remember those that died for the greater good.

It may seem like all is well in your corner of the world, but make no doubt about it, tears will be shed on Memorial Day.

Remember those families who had to bury a child that came home in a flag-draped coffin.

Remember the prisoners of war who lived through unspeakable horrors and were never able to set foot on American soil again.

Remember we as a country would not be where we are without those we honor on Memorial Day.

It’s a difficult thing to write about, the ultimate sacrifice. Any good reporter will tell you they have learned to silence their emotions when writing about this. It’s a hard topic to think about, let alone write about.

But this is a message that must be told.  

Countless men and women made America a better place by paying with their lives.

Groups like the American Legion and VFW exist in part to remember these brave men and women. It’s what they do, and it’s a burden their members carry with them all the time. It’s an honor and a privilege to remember their brothers and sisters.

When you see men and women in uniform laying a wreath on a grave or into the water just know it’s showing respect to brothers and sisters in arms.

If you see a veteran out selling poppies for a dollar, stop, say “thank you,” and buy one. It’s the official symbol of remembrance.

Go to a parade, wave a flag, be a proud American, and never forget.

As a nation, remembering and honoring those who died in active military service is a small thing we can do that means a lot to those impacted the most.   

For many families that lost a son, daughter, brother or sister, this is one of the hardest days of the year. It brings a flood of memories that can bring more pain to an already tender topic.

Memorial Day is not a happy holiday. It never was intended that way.

All I ask is that you use part of the holiday for its intended cause of honor and remembrance.

It’s the least we can do for everything we have.  

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