EDITORIAL / May 2013
A Responsibility We Must Never Let Fade
by Henry Mazurek
Memorial Day is a day to honor and salute the men and women who defended our freedom when our country called in its time of need. It is also a time to honor the price these courageous veterans paid on our behalf.
We should match the commitment of these men and women with the assurance that veterans and their families are not homeless, hungry, unemployed, or unable to receive medical treatment. We must continue to care for those who sacrificed their lives to reserve our country and to preserve our freedom.
It’s so easy to forget the blessings of liberty we so easily take for granted. Even in this time with the threat of terrorist attacks in the news daily, liberty is still second nature to us, and for this reason, we fail to appreciate its potency.
Freedom is on the march again in the world today, but at a price. Our young generations must be taught the heritage of patriotism, the value of freedom, and the tremendous cost of defending it.
The selfless courage these veterans have demonstrated in such far places as Afghanistan, Iraq, Khe Sahn, Normandy Beach, Iwo Jima, the Argonne Forest, Persian Gulf, and Central America provide us with real examples of the American spirit.
By passing on the legacy of the American sacrifice in the cause of freedom, we can assure that our children and grandchildren understand that liberty carries with it great responsibilities.
Honoring our war dead, honoring all veterans is a not only a tradition, it is a responsibility we must never let fade.
In one way or another, each one of us bears scars from our wars: some of us bled openly, other invisibly — inside. We carry the scars to this day. On this Memorial Day, then, let us remember those with whom we served and who didn’t come home, who remained forever young in the memories of those left behind.
Let us gather around our warrior’s remains; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence reflect that, by one supreme act, they accepted death for love of country, and made immortal their patriotism, devotion and virtue.
This is a time not only for honoring these brave men and women who shed their blood and made the supreme sacrifice against the evils of tyranny, but also for stressing the futility of war and expressing our hopes for a lasting world peace. It is for this generation to see that this healing is made permanent.
Henry Mazurek is former director of the Erie County, New York, Office of Veterans’ Services.