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Our view: ‘We are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.’

Monday is Memorial Day, a day set aside for us to remember the men and women who died while serving their country.

Herald pull quote, 5/28/22
Herald graphic
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Ronald Reagan was called “the Great Communicator” for a reason. His Hollywood background made him at ease in front of cameras and crowds, and his speeches often were powerful and poignant.

It’s appropriate, then, that so many of the former president’s words, in times of crisis and sorrow, are remembered today. And some of the best, most relevant, words came during Memorial Day speeches.

Reagan came from the Greatest Generation, a name coined by former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw as he described the Americans who endured the Great Depression and then helped win World War II, either by fighting in it or supporting it at home. That generation had experiences that so many of us today just cannot fathom.

"We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free,” Reagan said on Memorial Day in 1983.

And this from Memorial Day 1982: “The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves."

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Monday is Memorial Day, a day set aside for us to remember the men and women who died while serving their country.

As we wrote on Memorial Day in 2017: “Not everyone will make time to think about the service, sacrifice and sadness of this country’s war dead and their families, but everyone should. If only for a minute, think about (the hundreds of service members from our region) who died preserving the right for you to do whatever it is you plan to do today. And maybe even whisper ‘thank you’ to the spirit of these men and women who have given so much, and whose names and stories eventually will, sadly, fade into obscurity.”

Preserving that memory is why we so appreciate Memorial Day services. Monday, events will be held throughout the region. Speakers will solemnly remind us of the sacrifices made by so many – most of whom were, prior to their service, just everyday folks like the rest of us.

Now, they’re heroes, and Monday we should treat them as such.

If you can, attend an event. If you can’t, at least take a moment to remember Memorial Day’s intent. Tell your kids.

These heroes deserve a moment of our time to remember their sacrifice.

As Reagan said: “We are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.”

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