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posted: 5/26/2013 5:00 AM

Editorial: The thing you must do: remember

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Maybe you'll drive to Grandma's house.

Maybe you'll watch a parade.

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Maybe you'll host a cookout.

Maybe you'll spend a few hours at the opening of the local swimming pool.

Maybe you'll attend a community band concert.

Maybe you'll do some shopping.

Maybe you'll spend the weekend at a soccer tournament.

Maybe you'll sleep in.

Maybe you'll spend a few hours trapped in the crowds at O'Hare or Midway.

Maybe you'll wander the aisles of an outdoor art festival.

Maybe you'll get in a full 18 on the fairways.

Maybe you'll finally get those geraniums and impatiens in the ground.

Maybe you'll read a book at the local coffee shop.

Maybe you'll take part in a 5K, 10K or half-marathon race.

Maybe you'll spend a day at the park.

Maybe you'll eat Chinese.

Maybe you'll see a movie.

Maybe you'll get sunburned.

There are a lot of things you may do this Memorial Day weekend. There is one you absolutely must do.

Pause to consider the sacrifice that a local serviceman or woman made so that you would have this bounty of opportunities.

Maybe that person is someone you know. Maybe not. It makes little difference. Indeed, one of the remarkable facts about the far-too-many young people who have died in the service of their country is that they did so for such an abundance of other people they did not know, people who would never know them nor the specifics of the unimaginably selfless act that would remove them forever from the world of cookouts and golf games and airport crowds and days at the park.

The National Moment of Remembrance Commission, formed in 2000 by an act of Congress, urges all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day, to remember and honor those who have died in the service of our nation.

Keep that time and that objective in mind. You'll no doubt be swept up in some exhilarating holiday activity, and breaking away for a moment of silent reflection may seem awkward or inconvenient.

Do it anyway.

Or, if you absolutely cannot break away at 3 p.m., at least carve out some portion of the day to contemplate the incomparable gift that some young man or woman in the armed services -- indeed the gift that some such young man or woman's family -- offered so that you might enjoy the activities of this day and the vast and varied blessings of freedom every other day as well.

It is not so much to ask of us, really, this one small duty. They gave their lives. All we have to do is remember.

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