Serving Franklin County, WA

Someone paid for your freedoms

Disappointingly, many Americans are worried about silly first-world problems like where to go boating or what to barbecue over the upcoming weekend. Too many view this upcoming three-day break as an excuse to eat, drink and party, never giving a thought as to why Memorial Day is observed.

So while you’re anxiously awaiting the long weekend, take time to remember, understand and plan to observe Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is dedicated to the men and women killed while serving in our armed forces. The freedoms we have today came at their expense.

The blood of these Americans is the currency used to pay for the freedoms you and I enjoy today.

Memorial Day is a chance to remember the soldiers, seamen, airmen, Marines and guardsmen who gave their lives to keep the U.S. Constitution and American idealism intact. It honors the patriots whose blood was spilled so you could party the weekend away.

And yes, there are patriots buried in nearly every cemetery in even our smallest towns.

Here in Eastern Washington, Memorial Day observances often begin quietly Friday afternoon, with volunteers — many are scouts — locating the graves of service members. Some will spend hours cleaning up grave sites and marking them with American flags.

The flags will remain throughout the weekend, serving as a colorful reminder of the many Americans who served in our armed services and have since passed away.

Formal observances are usually planned for Monday across the region. There will be benedictions and closing prayers. “Taps” will be played and roll calls of deceased veterans read aloud.

At other observances across the region, wreaths will be placed at veterans memorials, doves will be released and 21-gun salutes will be heard. All are designed to remind you of those who paid for your freedoms.

If you can’t attend an observance in person, you can still take time to remember those family and community members who gave their lives making sure you are free to pursue the American dream and way of life. If you don’t know them personally, ask your family tree-keeper or a local historian. Share their stories with others in your circle — and don’t forget to remind youngsters that serving their country is truly patriotic.

In short, this Monday, take time away from decadent first-world celebration to remember the patriots who put their nation and its founding principles above themselves. They may have died decades ago, but they did so for you. They may not know of you, but they still gave their lives for you.

Somebody had to pay the price for your freedoms. Memorial Day is the day to remember who paid that price.

— Roger Harnack is the owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Email him at [email protected].

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Author photo

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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