Waving a silent reminder

Flags are positioned at veterans' graves for a Memorial Day remembrance ceremony at Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson.

This Memorial Day weekend has a special, historic feel to it. In less than two weeks, we'll observe the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Americans everywhere are reflecting on the invasion that was the beginning of the end of World War II. By the time the war concluded, 405,399 Americans had sacrificed their lives to defeat Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire.

In the American public's consciousness, that was the apex of the U.S. military's glory. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and supporting military had saved the world from pure evil.

Over the intervening seven-plus decades, the United States has become entangled in less popular conflicts where the enemy and the objectives have been more elusive.

While the reasons for these wars and the outcomes have seemed less tangible and more distant, the sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. military are every bit as courageous and selfless as those in World War II.

When duty has called, American military personnel have answered with determination, grit and bravery.

Memorial Day is designated to honor those who perished in the efforts. From the American Revolution in 1775 through ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, more than 1.3 million members of the U.S. military have died in war.

Many here in the Madison County area feel this loss intensely. A family member or friend has made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and freedom.

This weekend, honor our fallen heroes by cherishing your American rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Whether those heroes perished on a beach in Normandy, or on an island in the South Pacific, or in a Vietnamese jungle, or in a cave in Afghanistan or on a street in Mosul, this special Memorial Day is all about them.