This Memorial Day is a time for reflection and remembrance, as it is every year.

A look back at previous Independent editorials written for Memorial Day gives a poignant look at our country’s debt to those who have served in the military and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Just looking at the headlines brings home the importance of this holiday to Nebraska and our nation:

Memorial Day is a time for reflection ... A day to remember our fallen heroes ... Sacrifice hits close to home ... Remembering those who gave their lives for their country ... Remembering the sacrifices of many ... We owe our way of life to those we memorialize

On May 31, 2010, we recognized that Nebraskans were fighting and giving their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan:

“With the nation committed to ferreting out terrorists across the globe, the resolve of Nebraskans to carry the fight overseas is being tested on a regular basis. Nebraskans have shown they are more than willing to confront those who threaten American lives and values. Many from our state are now in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the expanded war on terrorism. They need our prayers and thoughts today and everyday. It is a time to thank those presently in the military for their commitment to defending the United States.”

On May 30, 2011, we looked back to the beginning of Memorial Day:

“It began as Decoration Day back in the 1860s. America was reeling from the Civil War as almost a generation of young men were wiped out by the war. The day was declared a time to decorate the graves of the war’s dead as a time of remembrance. Over the years it became Memorial Day, a holiday to remember all Americans who had died in service to their country.”

On May 25, 2015, we recognized the local impact of soldiers’ deaths with the loss of Capt. Dustin Lukasiewicz of Wilcox and five other Marines when their helicopter crashed in mountainous terrain in Nepal:

“Today, we Americans stand with heads bowed in respect for Capt. Lukasiewicz, the other five Marines and the many who before them gave their lives for their country, in war and in peace.”

On May 30, 2016, we counted the war dead, at that time:

“Consider these numbers of Americans killed:

- World War I: 116,516

- World War II: 405,399

- Korean War: 36,574

- Vietnam War: 58,220

- Gulf War: 383

- Iraq/Afghanistan: 6,607

“So many have given so much for the country. To make it personal, they did it for each of us, so that all Americans could live in peace and freedom. They did it on foreign soil and in faraway lands.”

And on May 28, 2018, we concluded with the purpose and the hope that keep our military vigilant:

“Hope is an important part of Memorial Day. We must continue to believe that we in America have something very special that is worth sacrificing to retain. Hope must be part of our future.”

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