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The importance of Memorial Day

In the next few days Americans are going to be asked to remember. They’re to remember the countless men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country while serving in the Armed Forces. The occasion? Memorial Day, which is being commemorated this year on Monday, May 27.

It’s hard not to recognize the importance of such a holiday — a holiday that marks the bravery and resoluteness of those who, by enlisting or being drafted, served this great nation. Now, in times of peace — turbulent as they may be — it’s as critical as ever to take a moment and thank those who served.

To help do so, communities throughout our region, the state and the nation are holding Memorial Day observances. (For a list of local ceremonies, read this week’s front page.) Right here in the Harlem Valley we have the chance to express our gratitude to veterans now gone for all they did to keep us safe. And though different from Veterans Day, we should also all remember to thank our living veterans on Memorial Day, before it’s too late, for their service, for their honor, for their dedication and for their bravery.

It might seem morose to some, to thank the dead for deeds long done. But it’s a part of life to look back on history and thank those who made a difference, and it’s important that we teach our young ones about the valor of those who served in the military — people who kept us all safe for generations.

The United States is a special place. Here, democracy reigns. But our rights and privileges do not come for free — nor should we ever take them for granted. Chances are, you know a veteran or someone who is currently serving in the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force. Or perhaps you lost a loved one who was a veteran. Whatever the case may be, take a moment this Memorial Day to say thank you. Take a moment to reflect on how much better your world is because of their selflessness. It’s a rare quality — altruism — but it’s at the heart of every soldier. 

Let’s not forget those who have died serving this great nation. It’s because of them that we can enjoy the freedoms and the liberties we all cherish. Take a moment this Memorial Day to remember their service, and resolve never to forget.