This year on Memorial Day, Americans will honor the service men and women who have lost their lives defending America. The Memorial Day activities will look different in many places due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing efforts in place to slow down the pandemic, Memorial Day parades and events are getting cancelled. Some of these cancellations include American Legion coordinated events.

Like past crisis, this pandemic has new heroes. Now during the pandemic, the most visible heroes are the health care professionals who are saving others and risking their own lives while doing so.

These heroes have much in common with the people that we honor today, America’s fallen veterans. No matter which branch you served in, whatever your job path or how many years you served, raising your hand and committing yourself to service in the military was a brave and selfless act. One that resulted in few guarantees of where you would be assigned; whether and where you might deploy; and in some cases if you would return home in one piece, or at all.

They are men and women who have sacrificed their own lives so others could live. They are both elite and ordinary. They are elite in the sense of character. Giving your life so others could live is the ultimate definition of selflessness. In fact they represent the diverse fabric of our country. They are rich and poor, black and white, male and female. They come from every ethnicity and background. In short, they look like anyone of us.

Memorial Day is a chance to reconnect to the genesis of our nation’s innumerous freedoms. It is an important day on which we ground ourself to the reality that every Gold Star Family knows, our way of life has been shaped and made possible by those who have served and by those who were lost. Together with friends, neighbors, veterans’ groups and entire communities, we can ensure that the sacrifices made by our nation’s finest and bravest never go unappreciated and their memories are never forgotten. This memorial day let us remember those that have gone on before us and let us thank God that such men lived. All gave some, some gave all!

Paul Kingery, Commander

Gilman American Legion Spiecher Post 499