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“We have three dates that define us as a nation and as a people. The first is July 4, Independence Day — the celebration of our birth as a nation and the principles that guide us.
“The second is Nov. 11, Veterans Day, when we celebrate and honor the men and women in uniform who now serve and have served our country with distinction.
“Third, the least understood and acknowledged is Memorial Day, the last Monday in May. Memorial Day should be a day of reflection rather than a celebration.
“Memorial Day is not about the start of summer, a day at the beach, a family outing or even lost loved ones or friends. Memorial Day is about the men and women who died on battlefields around the world, granting us the many freedoms that so many of us take for granted.
“Let us honor the many who gave their lives because they understood that the very survival of the nation often rested on their shoulders. They understood they were making a difference.
“Our commitment to the fallen must be to live our own lives as fully as possible, and always to be willing and able to give back to our families, our communities, our nation, and our world.
“We should never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice. For when we cease to remember, we dishonor all who came before us and doom all who come after us.
“Never let your children or their children or their children forget.”
— Written and submitted by (Army Col.-ret.) Jack McCaskill