Friday, May 27, 2011

With time, give honor

The War on Terror has not demanded a lot from ordinary Americans, even while it has taken the lives of men and women who have served in the nation's volunteer military services in the last 10 years.

Many of those who survived service in Iraq or Afghanistan have returned home with missing limbs, head injuries or other wounds that will never heal.

Americans who've never worn a uniform have struggled to find good ways to acknowledge the debt we owe to those who have served.

Struggle no more: Attending Memorial Day ceremonies is one of those ways.

Ceremonies at both the Ketchum and Hailey cemeteries at 11 a.m. on Monday will honor generations of men and women who answered the call to protect the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Not only do the events honor the dead, they offer the living a chance to acknowledge and reflect on the daily gift of freedom—to work, to travel, to recreate and to associate with whom we please—delivered courtesy of the nation's armed forces. The events offer the time and space for us to consider the enormity of our individual debts to generations of military men and women who placed themselves between us and destruction to keep our communities and families from living in fear. They give us the silence to hope together for the safe return of Army Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey who's been held prisoner by the Taliban in Afghanistan for nearly two years.

The only wonder about the Memorial Day ceremonies is that while they are well attended, crowds don't spill down the streets of Hailey and Ketchum. The ceremonies aren't about politics or the glory or horror of war. They are ritualized and short.

They are simply about ordinary people whose personal sacrifices have given us an extraordinary nation.

So, show up. Offer a tiny bit of time to show your gratitude for those who save our lives by offering theirs.

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