- Last Updated on 08:18 AM 05/21/14
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
Monday is Memorial Day, a fine opportunity to reflect on why we honor those who gave up their lives for our nation. It is also a time to think about those who currently serve and those who have served in the past.
This past Thursday night, members of the Hyco Road Ruritan Club did just that, paying special tribute to area veterans who so valiantly served our country and remembered those veterans who served and are no longer with us.
We were honored to have two World War II veterans in our midst Thursday evening, A. G. Lewis of the Cluster Springs community and Pete Myers and his wife of Halifax. Both of these veterans are in their 90s now and are among the few remaining veterans of our community who served during that world war.
Since then, other conflicts and wars have been fought on foreign soils, and many of those who returned from each conflict are now serving as leaders of our communities, our states and our nation.
This weekend, our community will offer several events to honor those who have died for our freedom.
It will be a chance to pay homage to those who have sacrificed so much so we can live in a country where we are free to make our own choices.
It’s much more than just a day off from work, waving the flag and watching John Wayne movies on TV.
It should be a time to reflect on America’s veterans who helped build our nation from the earliest days, who may not have always been recognized for all they have given us.
Too many times we take for granted the high price these men and women pay for the freedoms we enjoy. Many veterans who have fought in America’s wars don’t like to talk about their experiences. But we are reminded in some ways of what they encountered in war.
Anyone who has had the privilege of visiting the site of the USS Arizona in Hawaii can witness globules of oil that continue to rise eerily to the surface of Pearl Harbor. The sunken hull of the once great battleship still contains the bodies of most of the 1,177 Sailors and Marines who lost their lives within the decks of the ship the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
The crumbling remains of German pillboxes above the white beaches of Normandy remind us of the lives lost on the shores of France the morning of June 6, 1944.
The rusting skeletons of Japanese artillery on the beaches of Tarawa bring to mind the men who fought and died on that tiny atoll during the assault by the Second Marine Division on Nov. 20-23, 1943.
This Memorial Day, remember what our American veterans have done for us.
Remember the almost inhumane conditions some have had to bear in the fight against oppression around the world.
Remember the sacrifices they have made to guarantee our safety and our freedom.
And the next time you see one of our veteran heroes, thank him or her for the service provided to our country.