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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Ordinary Americans, extraordinary valor

Posted on May 28, 2022

OpinionLetters
The Wilson Times welcomes letters to the editor of 350 words or fewer. Letters should be signed with the writer's name and hometown. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Phone numbers are not published. Email your letter to the editor to letters@wilsontimes.com.

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The Wilson Times welcomes letters to the editor of 350 words or fewer. Letters should be signed with the writer's name and hometown. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Phone numbers are not published. Email your letter to the editor to letters@wilsontimes.com.

We begin the summer with Memorial Day. A holiday to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation. From the first battle of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775,  to today, we have seen more than 1.3 million Americans killed in war.

The holiday was celebrated as early as 1865 in the aftermath of the Civil War. North and South communities began to reach out to the thousands of hastily developed cemeteries to restore the dignity and honor for those who died in our greatest war. The loss of more than 620,000 was staggering. It was a time to heal and recognize that the United Stated of America was greater as a united republic than a divided nation.

On this sacred day, we honor those who selflessly gave themselves to ensure the freedoms we enjoy and for bringing a beacon of hope, of freedom and democracy around the world. Ordinary people displaying extraordinary valor paid for our freedoms with their very lives. This holiday was officially designated in 1966 to remember and honor them, and to ensure their sacrifice will never be in vain.

From the first time I stood at attention and saluted to pay tribute to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor to standing at attention and saluting on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan as fallen comrades passed by on their final voyage home, I have seen the sacrifice up close and am humbled by those who selflessly gave everything that I might be here.

When I have visited the cemeteries in places like Normandy, the Pacific Islands, Asia and the coastlines of Germany and France, I could feel the spirits of those who died there. It caused my chest to swell with pride, and I felt a reverence like being in church.

To all those who gave everything, I am reminded of a poem made famous by Ernest Hemingway and offer the following: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” Rest in peace, brothers and sisters.

Mick Rankin

Stantonsburg

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