Memorial Day: A political message

May 23, 2014

For many years, World War II veteran Harry “Speed” Lackhove has been reminding us how important it is to remember that Memorial Day week­end means much more than just the start of the summer season at the beach.

This year is no different. “Memorial Day recognizes those who have given their lives for their country,” said Speed on Wednesday. “What could be more important than that?” We agree com­pletely.

Those who put their lives on the line so we can enjoy the freedoms that help define this nation deserve our appreciation and recogni­tion. And while appreciation and recognition are important, they are not the most impor­tant actions we as citizens can take to show we understand the tremendous commitment and sacrifice made by soldiers.

The most im­portant action we can take is remaining vigi­lant and informed as citizens. By doing so we can help our elected officials decide wisely, so that sending our young people into wars is always the absolutely last recourse available, and used to ensure our security and national sovereignty.

This is not to say we shouldn’t have a well-armed and well-trained military always prepared and ready for action if needed. As idealistic as we would like to be - and we should always lean that way - the reality is we live in a dangerous world peopled by too many power-hungry characters driven by self­ish human instincts.

There will always be political elements who want to rush to judgment, and war, too willing to put our soldiers in the face of explosives before the persistence required of successful diplomacy has a chance to be effective. But typically, another day of diplomacy means another day without war.

Each day of diplo­macy without war is another day of avoiding the tremendous human suffering, deaths and other costs associated with war.

As part of our personal Memorial Day celebrations this year, let’s not only remem­ber those who have given their lives for their country, but also resolve to do all we can to settle the conflicts requiring our involvement without relegating more names to the granite markers that bespeak the noble willingness of those who have died for us.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.