Memorial day a time to reflect

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 25, 2008

The issue: Memorial Day observance.

Our take: At its core, the day is meant to be a solemn occasion.

There isn&8217;t anyone in this world who isn&8217;t affected by war.

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Certainly, many people reading this remember the operational days of Craig Air Force Base and the many soldiers who trained to fight wars abroad.

For weeks, we have all looked forward to this day. We have probably lost count of the times we&8217;ve heard people say they were looking forward to the last Monday in May.

We may have even worn out the phrase ourselves.

There are all manner of things to occupy our time off &8212; baseball games, family trips, barbecues, odds and ends around the house or absolutely nothing productive at all.

There are also several thousand dead soldiers that might otherwise go unrecognized.

It&8217;s almost a certainty that if someone today were sitting in a crowded room, he or she could turn to the next person and hear a story of a relative or friend that had bravely fought or had not returned from the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

Every day in Selma, we drive, walk or run past the burial places of men and women who put the love of their country above concern for themselves.

Despite that, some use one of the gravest of American observances to act irresponsibly. Because of that, their fate lies not at a foreign enemy&8217;s hand, but from the slurred judgment caused by a few too many libations.

Worse yet, their decisions may lead to the unnecessary death of another.

There is no shame in letting our hair down, relaxing and enjoying the company of loved ones. That may even include a few alcoholic beverages.

But this day off would have been neither possible or necessary had scores of soldiers not strapped on their boots and gone bravely into battles they would never return from.

Graciously and responsibly honor their memory. We should realize that a full life is the best way to repay the debt of our freedom.

That is not possible if we make careless decisions.

Today is a day of reflection. This is the reason Memorial Day is said to be observed, not celebrated.