After the pandemic canceled most Memorial Day ceremonies in 2020, it’s good to see that local events in the Tri-City area will return this year, even in their scaled-back forms.
It’s important that our society pauses to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country. As Elie Wiesel said, “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”
Younger generations of Americans have been mostly spared from experiencing global conflicts and that passage of time may make it easy for us to forget that many of the freedoms we enjoy cost the lives of men and women. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
Another sentiment, “We don’t know them all, but we owe them all,” is often quoted at Memorial Day ceremonies and offers a succinct truth. We regularly assemble to honor the memory of close family and friends when they pass so we may feel further removed from unfamiliar names and stories. This date on the calendar calls us as a society to do that together.
Although it is important to take time on Memorial Day to remember the fallen, it is just one day on the calendar. Showing honor and respect to servicemen and women who died in uniform should be a year-round exercise for Americans. “And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice,” President Ronald Reagan said.
Please make time on Monday, Memorial Day, to honor the men and women who died in service to their country.