GREEN: Don’t forget about Memorial Day during this pandemic

We seem to be getting accustomed to missing life’s events during this pandemic. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, sporting events — the list seems endless. Another will be added this month: Memorial Day.

Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result or wounds sustained in battle.

The purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today.

Veterans do not need to be reminded to remember those who gave the last full measure. We think of them every day. They were our buddies, sometimes, our friends, but always our comrades in arms. They left home with us. They trained with us, and they fought alongside of us. They just didn’t get to come home with us. Their lives ended too soon. They remain forever young.

But our nation sets aside this day for all citizens to remember. Part of remembering includes the parades with the high school bands and the fire trucks led by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wards of the U.S. or the American Legion with the American flags held high, followed by all the other units of the parade; with the sidewalks lined with people standing and saluting as the flags pass by.

This year, there will be no parades.

There are seven active veterans’ organizations in Cass County. All of them, along with the communities in which they reside, have had to cancel their normal parades and memorial services.

Some of the members of those organizations will still go as small groups to their community memorials to pay respects and honor those fallen comrades with a rifle salute and a solemn tribute of the playing of “Taps.” With few exceptions, what will be missing is the opportunity for the communities and the families of those fallen heroes to share in that tribute.

So, on May 25, Memorial Day, would you please stop and take a moment from your busy day to just remember those men and women who gave their lives so that all of us can enjoy the liberties that we sometimes take for granted? Also, remember the families of those who were lost. They suffered and grieved the loss of loved ones, and their sacrifice should not be forgotten.

Tom Green is the director of Cass County Veterans Affairs.