Editorial: Take a few moments this Memorial Day

The headstone of a Word War I vet from the North Fork on Memorial Day in 2011. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)
The headstone of a Word War I vet from the North Fork on Memorial Day in 2011. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

It can never be said enough.

Memorial Day isn’t about a three-day weekend. It’s not about barbecues, beach parties or road trips. It’s about the servicemen and -women who “gave the last full measure of devotion” for their country.

In an effort to help Americans be more mindful of this, President Clinton responded to a congressional resolution by issuing a proclamation in 2000 that established a one-minute “national moment of remembrance” at 3 p.m. each Memorial Day. Its purpose was to encourage Americans “to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday.”

The measure later became law, and its most outward public display nowadays comes during Major League Baseball, where fans observe the moment of silence during Memorial Day games across the country.

The fun part of Memorial Day will forever be part of our tradition, in that it celebrates community — and that’s what our soldiers have been dying for since 1775. But amid all that noise, we have to keep them in mind.

It’s also clear that during this time in history, we’re moving ever closer to losing our living links to what was arguably this country’s greatest military performance on the world stage. So along with that moment of silence, it’s worth taking the time to call, hug or shake hands with any World War II veterans you might know, and assure them their bravery and sacrifices will never be forgotten.

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