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The Camasonian

Op-Ed: Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?


Martin Luther King Junior once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It is important to keep these words in mind when thinking about the lives of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. They fought for our freedoms and for our country and in the process lost their lives. Those are the people we choose to honor and recognize on Memorial Day. 

I have had numerous relatives who were soldiers in the U.S. military. In every war since World War I, family members of mine were there. All four of my great-grandfathers fought in World War II—two in Germany and two in the Pacific. I’ve had great-uncles who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. I’ve also had distant relatives who fought in the Gulf Wars. Currently, my older cousin and his wife are both captains in the Army. 

While, fortunately, all of them came home alive, none of them left unscathed. One of the things I learned from them was how strong their bonds were with their fellow soldiers. These are often referred to as a “brotherhood.” Because of those strong and close relationships, it makes it even more difficult when they lose them. I know that my relatives struggled for years after completing their service because of brothers they lost. 

Sawyer speaking at the Veteran’s Day assembly

This is something that soldiers continue to think about. “I, for sure, think of my friends, whether it was in training or combat,” sophomore English teacher Tom Sawyer said. He also served in the United States Army. 

However, younger people, regardless of their generation, often take for granted the freedoms that they have received because of the sacrifices made by our troops. But there are ways to bring this to people’s minds. “I think the way that we can bring attention to the fallen soldiers is to really educate and inform our generation on the history and what our soldiers went through to protect our country,” CHS senior Zayah Shore said. He will be joining the United States Air Force after graduation. 

Growing up, my family often told me the phrase “freedom isn’t free”. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but now whenever I see it, I finally know it. A lot of people don’t recognize how precious our freedom is and why it is so important to honor those who died protecting the freedoms we have. I definitely look forward to the day when people will finally realize it.

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Sydney Malarkey
Sydney Malarkey, Staff Writer

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