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Our View: Remember their sacrifice this Memorial Day

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Although the idea of war goes against everything we want in our lives, the reality is we need a strong United States military.

The military’s early branches, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps; began in 1775 and the need for the organizations sadly has not diminished. The Coast Guard and the Air Force were later added and are just as needed today.

The Department of Defense’s mission is to provide the military forces needed to defend our country’s security and to sustain American influence abroad.

Besides being the oldest agency, the military is the country’s largest employer today with more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty and 742,000 civilian personnel. In addition, there are approximately 826 thousand serving in the National Guard and Reserve forces. And 450,000-plus employees are stationed in other countries.

Those working in the military, however, do not receive as much recognition as, for example, our local sports celebrities or entrepreneurs.

While we easily discuss with our friends and families about what celebrities and entrepreneurs do, we rarely talk about what servicemen and women do while we’re relaxing at the office kitchen, dinner table or parties.

Veterans are traditionally honored publicly twice a year on Memorial Day this Monday and Veterans Day in November. Specifically, Memorial Day or Declaration Day is the annual celebration that remembers, appreciates and honors the fallen men and women who have served in the United States military.

Unfortunately, many residents are more excited about holiday sales at area malls than annual Memorial Day celebrations sponsored by groups such as schools, Veterans of Foreign Wars or The American Legion.

Being in the military is not an easy occupation.

For starters, you have to always be in good physical and mental shape. You’re away from home, often in a country where you’re not really wanted. And there’s a chance you might suffer severe injuries, post-traumatic stress or death while carrying out responsibilities to make this country safer.

Members of all the military branches put their lives on the line.

The total number of Americans killed in action is more than 1.1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Monday is a solemn day to honor those fighting to preserve our freedoms, who sacrificed their life while doing their jobs.

This Memorial Day, let’s start showing our appreciation as a community to the servicemen and woman who lost their lives while protecting our American ideals.

Regionally, there are several community events honoring Memorial Day (see the info box for a few events).

Thank you to those who have served in the military. And thank you to those who organize and to those who attend these Memorial Day events instead of spending the holiday at the mall.

Let’s show our support by attending at least one Memorial Day event this Monday.

- Folsom Telegraph