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Our View: Pause to reflect this weekend

Published: Friday, May 23, 2014 11:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 23, 2014 11:42 p.m. CDT


It’s not too much to ask.

Carving out a few minutes – or longer – to remember what Memorial Day is about is the least you can do as you enjoy your long weekend (if you’re lucky enough to get one).

Although this weekend is sold as the kick-off to summer, or a great time to get a deal on anything from a new car to a mattress, Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave all they had for the country they loved.

Memorial Day was first officially observed May 30, 1868, to honor the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died during the Civil War. The holiday has since evolved to observe all U.S. servicemen and women who have died while in military service.

It’s hard to find an exact number of how many U.S. soldiers have died during the many conflicts this county has fought in, but a fact sheet from the U.S. Veterans Administration showed that before 2001, about 1.19 million had died in battle, in theater or while in service. You can add another 2,319 from Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Associated Press database, but that doesn’t include soldiers who have died while in service, but not on the battlefield.

Each soldier’s death is a reflection of the ultimate price paid by those brave enough to dedicate their lives to helping others. Because that is what soldiers do: They put their lives on the line to assist others, whether it’s patrolling a border, working for the National Guard during a natural disaster or picking up a gun and going to war.

And they do this for us, to ensure our freedom remains intact.

Memorial Day is a day to remember. Those who have lost a service member they called father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister or friend likely don’t need a day on the calendar to remember.

Those of us lucky enough to never know such a burden owe those who gave their lives to our country a moment of reflection and thanks for being willing to sacrifice all they had, because they believed in something bigger than themselves.

We honor your sacrifice.

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