As we are near the halfway point of 2020, it’s commonplace for a person to be part of a military family – a father, grandfather, great-grandfather having fought in a war or having served during a certain era going back to before World War II. Extended family can include uncles and cousins who have served this country, too, going back to the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, and the War on Terror.

If a loved one perished during a conflict at any time in the past half century, their survivors are the ones who know the very meaning of what Memorial Day is about. If you are not from a military family or have not known anyone who died during war, understanding it can be as foreign as the country where these men and women served.

If your family spends the time to celebrate during this Memorial Day weekend, it is perfectly alright, because it means that someone in this country sacrificed his/her life for you and your loved ones to do that. Luckily for those who are part of a military family, there are veterans alive to remind those who did not serve that they spent a part of their young lives – through a draft or by choice – in our U.S. military.

It means if called upon, these men and women were ready to give their life for the United States of America and the freedom of a loved one or a stranger, but an American loved one and a stranger. 

This is worth remembering and taking the time to thank a veteran for it. 

And thankfully in this country we are bombarded through television, radio, newspaper, internet about how fortunate we are to have a Memorial Day the last weekend of May. You cannot go anywhere and not be reminded you are a citizen of the United States of America. 

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, on the left or right, gay or not, you hear it from all walks and corners of life – be proud to be an American. But as the month nears its end, thank a veteran for your freedom.

This column is yet another small reminder of what Memorial Day means. This Opinion page is a reminder, as is the front page of today’s Journal-Spectator that this publication recognizes those who died for our country and we are thankful.

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