Remembering our soldiers’ sacrifices

Memorial Day weekend. It’s synonymous with the start of summer vacations and summer fun.

Around these parts especially, this weekend marks the unofficial kickoff of the summer season. Tourists are welcomed to town. And locals welcome the chance to get out and enjoy all that summer in the mountains has to offer.

But of course, Memorial Day was always meant to be about a lot more than just ushering in a change of seasons. And this year more than many, we are reminded of its real meaning.

It is imperative today to remember how many of our fellow citizens have answered the call of duty, and paid the ultimate price, serving on behalf of our country. The loss of American troops in Iraq only underscores that point. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters kissed loved ones behind and put themselves in harm’s way for our sake.

It’s a sacrifice America knows well, having been repeated since the first war in which colonists rose up to free themselves against the king of England. Memorial Day provides the chance for us to honor those who have protected our country, and the liberties we enjoy as U.S. citizens.

One of those liberties, of course, is to question the decision to go to war – a debate that we heard over this latest military action. But even those who oppose the war must appreciate the freedom they have enjoyed to voice their opposition. And we all must appreciate the soldiers who, whatever their personal feelings about any war, follow orders when it comes time to fight for their country.

Had they done anything less than that over the centuries, this country wouldn’t exist as we know it.

Local residents have opportunities today to support troops and remember those who died on the battlefield. Among other events, the American Legion Post 83’s memorial service is at 11 a.m. at Rosebud Cemetery in south Glenwood Springs. A rally for the troops takes place at 1 p.m. in Sayre Park in Glenwood.

At the very least, all Americans are asked to pause for a moment at 3 p.m. local time, and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect.

The least we can do is remember those who will never see another summer so that we might enjoy many summers to come.

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