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Sacrifices made deserve our respect
On Monday, May 29, Memorial Day, I was privileged to be one of the leaders of a group of local Cub Scouts from Pack 452 (Opstad Elementary School) that visited our local cemeteries to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies.
We met with and participated in ceremonies to honor those who have lost their lives and/or served our country. I met with several veterans who spoke of their comrades and respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our veterans did this so that we may enjoy the privileges so many of us take for granted in this country. The ceremonies at Preston, Fall City and North Bend cemeteries and at the Vietnam memorial located at the football field of Mount Si High School included several veterans participating in the customary 21-gun salute.
I left that day with a profound respect for those who have served in our military and those U.S. citizens who have died in wars all over the world. I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be living my life at 18 or 19 years old, and then to receive a draft notice in the mail. How would I have reacted to being trained as a soldier and experiencing the tragedy of war?
We have so much to be thankful for in this country. Many immigrants come to this country to live the life they had no chance of living in their native lands. Without our veterans, it is very possible we would have no free elections, freedom of speech, or the nearly unlimited opportunity to lead a full and enriched life. We very possibly would live under the rule of some tyrant or radical interpretation of some organized religion. We have so many freedoms that not many of us appreciate. We live like this because we have men and women who serve and sometimes die for our country.
If you have read this far, thank you and please do me a favor. Clip this letter out of the newspaper and tape it to your December 2002 calendar as a reminder. Then, when you put up your 2003 calendar, mark Monday, May 27, 2003, as the day you will honor our veterans by joining me and our Cub Scout pack at the Preston Cemetery at 9 a.m. We will accompany the American Legion Auxiliary, the local V.F.W. and several other local veterans as we visit the other cemeteries and the Vietnam memorial at the top of each hour.
It is the very least we can do to honor those who have paid so dearly for us to live in a freedom-enriched society. It is a society that allows us so many choices on how we live our lives. Those who died on the battlefield never got the chance to come back and experience what they were fighting for.