Editorial: On Memorial Day, we honor nation’s fallen by upholding the ideals they fought for | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: On Memorial Day, we honor nation’s fallen by upholding the ideals they fought for

On Monday, residents will congregate with loved ones in backyards or parks throughout Summit County and celebrate the end of a three-day weekend and the unofficial start of summer.

But we must be careful not to lose Memorial Day's true significance. It's a time to honor the many men and women who died serving our country, those who gave, as Lincoln said at Gettysburg, the last full measure of devotion.

That we will be able to spend the holiday gathered around the grill or taking in a ballgame is a testament to the sacrifices they made. As Americans, we rightly view freedom as our birthright, but it was earned only through the great cost of their blood. We would do well to remember that.

The price they paid is even more stark this Memorial Day, amid a period of great political division in America that has strained bonds between countrymen and has called into question in some quarters the very definition of patriotism.

The veterans we'll honor Monday died believing in the American experiment, in the ability of people from all backgrounds to unite under one flag and in our nation's capacity to be a force for good, both abroad and within its own borders. On this Memorial Day, it is not enough to simply pause and reflect on our fallen soldiers. We must contemplate how we, as citizens in their debt, can uphold in a time of domestic strife the ideals for which they gave their lives.

Grandiose thoughts of service or heroism may spring to mind. But in Summit County, preserving the values that define our country include smaller acts like actively participating in the local political process or instilling in our children a belief that America's best days are yet ahead — but that they'll have to work to make it so. It can be something as ordinary as treating a neighbor whose views are different than our own with dignity and respect.

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It's often as simple as standing up for what's right.

Promoting the principles our fallen soldiers fought for allows us to truly honor them, and at the same time carry forward the legacy of patriotism — in the most noble sense of the word — they left behind. What better Memorial Day tribute could we give them than that?

Park City is scheduled to hold an annual Memorial Day ceremony at 9 a.m. Monday at the Park City Cemetery. A series of ceremonies will also be held on the East Side, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Wanship Cemetery and culminating at noon at the Coalville Cemetery.