EDITORIAL: Pause and reflect this Memorial Day

Published 8:00 am Monday, May 27, 2024

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Memorial Day is a solemn national holiday that like many other days of remembrance, and for reasons both seasonal and societal, has had its meaning largely subsumed.

Don’t let it be.

We won’t print a paper here, but we will look at the somber ceremonies and the ongoing commitment of many of our fellow citizens. We have our share of important symbols of their sacrifices made here in Suffolk and encourage you to visit one.

One of those is the annual Memorial Day observance at 10 a.m. Monday at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery, 5310 Milners Road.

The ceremony honors and remembers all men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation, from the Revolutionary War to the present day. In one of the most beautiful patriotic displays you will see, American flags will be placed at each grave in the cemetery by volunteers prior to the ceremony.

The event is free, and you won’t regret attending. In fact, you’ll be a better person and citizen for having gone. 

The ceremony will feature a keynote address delivered by Colonel Michael Winstead, a retired U.S. Army officer.

Whatever you do this weekend, guard against the inertia and blissful ignorance afforded us by having our all-volunteer armed forces and a modern style of warfare that sometimes conceals the magnitude of their challenge. Don’t allow Monday to be entirely about the finishing of school years, opening of pools and shopping for sales. Take more than a cursory pause between bites of barbecue and leaps off the diving board.

Memorial Day was actually initiated as a way to honor those who died fighting the Civil War, but it was rightfully expanded to encompass all American casualties.

As our nation is increasingly divided by political squabbles of the day, a time to honor those who gave their lives to defend our freedom and the principles of our democracy is even more meaningful. Men and women have found common cause in more trying times than these and given everything to ensure we are able to maintain our way of life and form of government.