Friday, May 23, 2014

Honor soldiers with your presence

     Americans relish a three-day weekend like the one coming up when most government offices and schools will be closed. However, unlike some others, Memorial Day weekend carries an obligation that should weigh heavily on all Americans. That obligation is to take the time to join with others to formally honor our men and women who served in the military.

     Ceremonies take place all over the nation, including the most somber laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. The honor is echoed in two local ceremonies that will take place at cemeteries in both Ketchum and Hailey at 11 a.m. Monday with flyovers by World War II fighter planes from the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa.

     More than 21,000 people live in Blaine County. Yet, we estimate that only 2 percent or less of the population turns out each year to formally honor the sacrifices of our soldiers. Our reasons for failing to attend range from “honoring their sacrifice in other ways” to not “believing in war” to “I forgot.” Most are pretty lame, given that the lives we enjoy today are the result of the price soldiers paid and continue to pay for the rest of us. We can do better.

     The world is a dangerous place, more so than average Americans realize most days. Like it or not, the world looks to American soldiers when things go wrong and force is needed to set them right.

     With Hailey soldier Bowe Bergdahl still in captivity and with withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan imminent, participants in the ceremonies can share both worry and relief with their hour-long presence. An hour is not too much to ask of us to honor the soldiers who safeguard our freedom with selfless service and with their very lives.

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