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LT Harley Davidson
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PostSubject: Memorial Day   Memorial Day Icon_minitimeSun May 30, 2010 8:50 am

"Lest we forget."

So wrote Rudyard Kipling in his great poem "Recessional." And today we
do not forget; we remember the cost of freedom and the thousands of young men
and women who gave their lives to defend it.

Decoration Day it was once. Now
it is more commonly known as Memorial Day. It is a day set aside to call to our
minds how much has been given through the years to protect the personal
liberties our founding fathers gave to us. It is a day when we make formal
recognition of the price the country has made to keep the freedoms we have. It
is a heavy price indeed.

Time after time as the country
was threatened, young men answered the call to arms and left their homes and
went off to battlefields the world over to face enemies who would take our
freedom from us. Many of those young men and women died, and their loved ones
suffered the sorrows that only the loss of loved ones can bring about.

They were young, those soldiers
and sailors and airmen, their lives just beginning to unfold. They live now
only in memory, in pictures hung on the walls of schools and town halls or
other public places. Go sometime to one of these places and stand before the
row of pictures and look hard at them.

How beautiful those young men
were. What fine members of America's youth they were, full of the love of life,
brimming over with enthusiasm and resolution, ready to go and serve, each with
his own dreams and aspirations and expectations for a long life stretching
before him. They were yet to learn about war and its cruelties and horrors.
They knew only that their freedoms and those of their countrymen were in danger
and they had to defend them.

Many of them put aside their
thoughts of their best girls and the lives they were planning together, the
children they would have, the love that would sustain them, as they went to
war. Others left families, sons and daughters, young wives and loving parents.
Their plans would have to wait.

Then, soon after, they were cut
down by one of the horrible engines of war, many of their bodies torn and
dismembered, their agonies so great that death was welcome. And now there are
only pictures of them. Look at them and remember. Freedom has a heavy price.

The first exercises to recall
our honored dead was in the South after the Civil War when girls in white
dresses walked slowly across graves of the fallen, dropping flowers from
baskets. The rite was so moving and meaningful that it spread through the
entire country, and now the strewing of flowers is a time-honored and beloved
part of memorial exercises everywhere.

On Monday we pay tribute -- all
we can do -- to those who fell defending us. We stand silent as bands play
"Departed Days" on village greens and city commons, as rifle squads
fire salutes, as orators call us back to the days of our common agony when our
young men were falling, and pretty young girls strew flowers over land
dedicated to our honored dead. We fight to hold back tears as the sound of
"Taps" floats over the green, and we thrill as the flag passes and we
hold our hands over our hearts in respect to the symbol of all we have and love
-- our flag, our country.

We remember.

Free people are threatened
constantly by forces that would destroy them, that would take their liberties
and replace them with government control of their lives. When it is necessary
to battle those forces, the young men and women of the country go to fighting
fronts around the world. Many die. It is they who, as Abraham Lincoln said,
"...gave the full measure of devotion."

We think of all those who left to
protect us and never came home. We think of those bereaved by the loss of loved
ones. We think of freedom and the heavy cost of keeping it.

* Written by: Bob Reed, former
editorial writer for The Sun of Lowell.

On Memorial Day we remember all
of the fallen servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

The National Moment of Remembrance takes place on Memorial
Day at 3 p.m. local time, and it is one minute in duration. Please observe this
moment… "Lest we forget."
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