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Memorial Day – A day to remember

Memorial Day is a holiday perhaps unlike all others.

There is little pressure on most of us. We generally aren’t expected to host big gatherings that take days or weeks to prepare for. There are few decorations to put out – just an American flag if we choose to even do that. It’s here and then it is gone.

We can just kick back and enjoy a day off from work and our routines if that is all the effort we care to put into the day.

Hopefully, though, we will remember that that kind of leisure, that freedom to do whatever we choose to, comes at a cost. Hopefully we will remember that more than 1 million veterans have died for the rights we have and the security we enjoy today.

There is no formal Memorial Day ceremony being held in Minot today. Yes, it is because of the coronavirus, and we don’t all agree with the restrictions that have been set for us. Still, it is what it is.

If you are reading this and have no other way to mark this bizarre Memorial Day, take a look at the obituaries in today’s paper. Look for the American flags and think of the sacrifices of time and service made by Elmer Poline and Ed Kuhn, both of Minot. Read their life stories.

They spent considerable time away from friends, family, and the safety net of home to serve our country in uniform. Having been in the Army both were presumably tough men; Kuhn was a boxer and tank commander. Then, both came home and continued to serve, Poline as a longtime Burke County employee and Kuhn as a longtime Minot alderman. They served in other ways as well.

Kuhn and Poline were among the lucky ones who got to come home when their time in the military was up, and for that we are thankful. It seems unfair that the first Memorial Day since their passing is, well, so unlike what Memorial Day should be, with the strewing of flowers in the waters of the Souris River and words of sincere respect offered up by speakers at Rosehill Cemetery, followed by the mournful sound of Taps. All the while, people who are all about God and country standing together shoulder to shoulder paying their respects.

Maybe next year.

As for today, yes, it is a day to remember because of this corona craziness. But let’s not let the virus detract from the million reasons we celebrate Memorial Day this year and every year – our fallen heroes.

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