Record editorial: On Memorial Day, we honor Americans who paid a steep price |

Record editorial: On Memorial Day, we honor Americans who paid a steep price

For most Summit County residents, it can be a difficult prospect to fathom: The courage that must reside inside an American to take up arms for our country, leaving behind their home and their loved ones and confronting the possibility of returning in a flag-draped casket or not at all.

Most of us are unfamiliar with that kind of courage because of the sacrifices of those who know it all too well.

On Monday, we will mark Memorial Day and honor them, the hundreds of thousands of Americans throughout the nation’s history who’ve laid down their lives for what they believed was a greater purpose. In locations throughout Summit County, we will gather at the graves of fallen veterans and locate inside ourselves the immense gratitude we owe as the smallest offering of thanks for their service.

As we honor them, we know what their devotion has purchased. We experience it in the pleasures, large and small, that accompany living in a land of freedom, even one that sometimes falls short of the creeds its soldiers died to defend.

It is a gift to be treasured.

So, too, is the fact that, thanks largely to the sacrifices of earlier generations, fewer Americans in recent decades have been called to the field of battle for the purpose of renewing our freedom. But we are amid a time of growing global tensions, and the possibility of a new war in the Middle East hangs in the air. On this Memorial Day, we call on the politicians vested with the authority to send our men and women into conflict to proceed with extreme caution.

How much promise has been extinguished on the battlefield in the long history of our country’s wars? The answer, of course, defies calculation. What we do know is this: Once it is gone, it can never be brought back.

Decisions that may contribute to the number of fallen we honor each year on the last Monday of May must be made with the utmost care, as even one life is a steep price.

In America, we are fortunate there have been patriots in each generation willing to pay it. We will remember them on Monday, treasure what they died for and ask our leaders to do what they can to ensure as few of our countrymen as possible join their ranks.

A Memorial Day ceremony presented by American Legion Post 14 is scheduled at the Park City Cemetery Monday at 9 a.m., followed by a plaque unveiling and tribute to the servicemen who died in an army bomber crash on Iron Mountain in 1941. Ceremonies on the East Side of Summit County are also scheduled, including one at the Coalville City Cemetery at noon.

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