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Remember why we honor this day

Today is a Memorial Day unlike any we can remember. In many ways, we are freer this year to focus on the true reason for the holiday — not picnics, parades and swimming pools, but honoring the men and women who have given their lives in military service to this country.

More than 1.35 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces have died in wars ranging from the American Revolution to Afghanistan, and countless missions in between. (Many more than that have been wounded or are counted missing.)

Our observance of what has become the unofficial start of summer honors those who never again saw another summer once they had given their lives for the rest of us. But they were willing to make that sacrifice. They were willing to fight and die for their country and what it stood for.

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them,” said President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Remember them for a moment today, ladies and gentlemen. Though three-day weekends have lost their luster amid the uncertainty of a pandemic, our gratitude for their bravery — their willingness to answer their nation’s call, no matter the cost — should be as strong as ever. They must never be forgotten.

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