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EDITORIAL: Find a way to honor our heroes

EDITORIAL: Find a way to honor our heroes

Social separation no excuse not to honor our heroes
EDITORIAL: Find a way to honor our heroes
Memorial Day Service at the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters in Latham on Friday.
Photographer: Erica Miller/Staff PHOTOGRAPHER  

Find a way to honor our heroes

In one of our local towns the other day, a woman was standing by the side of the road taking a photo with her camera across traffic.

On the other side of the road from her was a memorial.

A large gray stone with a brass plaque bearing a list of names. A fresh red-white-and-blue wreath resting on a stand in front it.

Memorial Day in the covid era.

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Our soldiers, the men and women we honor this weekend for making the ultimate sacrifice, found a way to serve us.

We must all find a way to honor them.

Normally, we all turn out for Memorial Day parades, lining local streets waving flags and saluting our uniformed heroes as they march by. Then we tuck in together around the local war memorial as officials read off the names of the war dead and recall their sacrifices.

But these are different times. Social distancing has forced communities to cancel their ceremonies or to hold only scaled-down versions with many fewer people.

We can’t let our heroes go unheralded.

They found a way to serve us.

They went through the training and packed up their gear and left their loved ones behind to fight, often hundreds or thousands of miles from home, to defend our liberties and our way of life.

 

They went through hell that many of us can’t even imagine. 

Many came home with permanent physical injuries. Many came home in flag-draped caskets. Many found their final resting place on the battlefield.

All who survived came home changed forever.

They found a way to serve.

Find a way to honor them.

If your community holds a vehicle parade, stand in your front yard and salute or clap or stand silently.

Put your flag out. If you don’t have one, go buy one.

When the crowds are few, stop by the local memorial and bow your head in thanks and prayer. Bring a flag or a wreath and set it there.

Have your kids write a note of thanks.

Wander through a cemetery and stop at the places where veterans groups have placed flags on graves and reflect on the service of the fallen.

To honor their memory, contribute food and money to veterans organizations that serve their comrades in arms. Support local food drives to help homeless and indigent veterans.

Contact your federal and state representatives and demand they support funding for veterans services and veterans hospitals and nursing homes where elderly veterans are spending their last days.

Just because we can’t have large public gatherings to honor our fallen soldiers this year doesn’t mean we can’t still honor them.

Make the time. Make the effort.

They found a way to serve.

Find a way to honor them.


 

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