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Fri, Oct. 18

Column: Memorial Day has solemn meaning

Today is Memorial Day, which is at the tail end of a three-day weekend, but it’s not about what you may think.

I have heard and said this before, and it is worth repeating.

It is NOT about the people serving in the military; that is Armed Forces Day — the third Saturday in May.

It is NOT about those who have served; that is Veterans Day — Nov. 11.

Neither of those are national holidays and they are only one day during the week.

This holiday is given a whole weekend, time off from work for many and, hopefully, time to reflect on why we have this weekend.

This weekend, and especially this day, is for those who died in the call to service to our nation.

This weekend is not about the ceremonial beginning of summer, that’s actually June 20.

This weekend is not about automobile races, such as the Indianapolis 500 or the Prescott Valley Grand Prix (held Saturday and Sunday); trips to the ocean or camping in the mountains; or even a barbecue.

It is about those who gave all so we could enjoy those things.

While you are flipping a burger, cracking open a cold one, cheering on your favorite driver (amazing race Sunday, huh?!) or just hanging out with friends and family, please pause for a moment and remember those who made it possible.

Just think where you would be at this exact moment if they were not willing to fight and, yes, die for our way of life.

I seriously doubt if you would be or could be reading this column in the newspaper or online.

You may know some people whose parents or ancestors died in battle. I know several. It is because of them we enjoy the freedoms we have.

It is in thanks to many of my relatives that I write this — among them my grandfather who served in the Marines, and my father-in-law who served in the Navy. My family has been lucky though — our family members who have served did so without dying in combat; they came home and went on with their lives.

My relatives way back who served in the Civil War, did so out of service for a country new to them; they were done when the war was over, and moved to the heart of Texas and built families and farms.

I thank them for their service; yet, on this day — Memorial Day — it is about those who paid the biggest price, dying in service to their country, who I say thank you to. I pray their survivors take some solace from this day.

It is their fathers, sons, brothers, mothers, daughters, and sisters to whom we owe so much.

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