Memorial Day is commemorated annually for those who have died in service of our country. Millions of patriotic individuals have done just that since America's founding more than 200 years ago. While not every soldier's death took place in a truly just or justifiable war or battle, the commitment to country always was honorable.
So, too, is the commitment of everybody else during times of war. Those who were able to emerge unscathed from a foxhole where comrades did not; those who were wounded or still carry scars from their honorable duty; the families from which members of the armed forces came from.
Defending the United States, our ideals and our way of life requires sacrifices from all.
For those who offer the ultimate sacrifice, however, these are the brave men and women we salute on Memorial Day. Whether enlisted personnel or commissioned officers, newbie grunts or seasoned veterans, no matter the race, religious persuasion or ethnic origin. Everybody looks the same in a flag-draped casket.
We are forever indebted to those who fought and died for the red, white and blue. The freedoms we've cherished throughout history have been secured in large part by our military.
The national holiday tomorrow is the ideal time to thank those who've died on our behalf.
If you can attend one of the many Memorial Day services scheduled throughout northwest Kansas on Monday, do so. If you'd prefer to pay respect by visiting a cemetery, saying a prayer, buying a poppy, wearing the nation's colors or observing a moment of silence, do that.
There still will be plenty of time to thoroughly enjoy the three-day weekend, a break made possible by our fallen brothers and sisters in uniform.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)