Every day should be a Memorial Day

Each Memorial Day we honor those in the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom in service to our country. 

This day is important when we recall that right now, brave men and women are fighting for the same cause around the world.  Memorial Day is a time for public display of pride in our country and our nation’s defenders.
                                                                    
We recognize that the freedoms we enjoy could not be possible without the sacrifices made by veterans.

I ask you today to honor our patriots not with just a flag or parade, but by thanking and supporting their comrades who are continuing their work.  We need to be reminded that the struggle for freedom is an ever-present responsibility with a heavy cost.

If there is a silver lining to world conflicts, it may be that now our young people can better understand the true value of freedom.

To repay our veterans for their courage and sacrifice, we must make sure that younger generations recognize the gratitude we owe for the values of our country.  We all must play a role in developing a greater awareness of history and putting in context the sacrifices made by others.

Teachers should invite veterans to elementary schools and university classrooms. Students should interview veterans or retrace the steps of fallen soldiers and their families. Anyone who wore a uniform deserves to be heard. 

Throughout the year, not just on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, civic groups should sponsor oral histories and honor heroes from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and all the other armed conflicts. Media outlets should highlight stories about the remaining sentries to the past. Freedom of the press was another right they died to preserve.

"We have to remember that in the future we will want to keep before our children what this war was really like," said Eleanor Roosevelt after World War II. "It is so easy to forget; and then, for the younger generation, the heroism and the glamour remain, while the dirt, the hardships, the horror of death and the sorrow fade somewhat from their consciousness."

All of our fallen and living defenders deserve the heartfelt appreciation of a grateful nation.

For those survivors who did what they had to do to preserve our hard-won freedoms, and returned to their families and communities, we must always remember to say, “Thank You.”

For those of us who continue down the road of life, we must honor the obligations of freedom. 

Let the true monument to our fallen soldiers be the pride and honor we show those serving and the support we offer to their families.

Sen. Goeff Hansen represents the 34th Senate District.