EDITORIAL: Memorial Day observance is a duty — and a privilege


As we prepare to enjoy a much-deserved long weekend — with sunny skies and warm temperatures likely to cooperate with plans for barbecues and summery fun — virtually every community in the region — from our largest community to our smallest hamlet will solemnly observe Memorial Day on Monday.

We gather on Memorial Day to honor those who sacrificed their lives so that we can live and enjoy the rights of a free society.

It is both a duty and a privilege.

For days, if not weeks, veterans organizations, volunteers, Gold Star families, and city/town and village workers have painstakingly prepared local monuments, parks and memorials for these observances to ensure the proper respect is given. There will be parades and speeches and wreath layings. There will be performances of the national anthem and readings of those sons and daughters, brothers and sisters lost in war.

There will be no shortage of appreciation for those fallen and for those who carried on, whether family, friends or fellow soldiers, airmen or shipmates.

To be sure, there will be parades and speeches; wreath layings and the gathering of veterans their families and the community at large.

There will also be, no shortage in many of our communities of first and second generation Americans — who came to the Mohawk Valley seeking freedom and relief from oppression.

We need look no farther than the bloodshed in Ukraine to see what freedom means or what lengths are required to preserve it.

America, for better or for worse, is as much as shared ideal which requires constant tending as it is a nation.

It requires dialogue and honest communication; it requires understanding and a desire to work beyond conflicts or differences to shared goals and with and for mutual respect.

The cost of America, as Memorial Day makes painfully clear, is dear.

As we honor those who have fallen in service, we should also not just remember their sacrifice but what that sacrifice was for and for whom that sacrifice was made. We should honor them by redoubling our efforts to overcome our divides and demonstrate our deep respect, appreciation and commitment to the ideal of America.


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