A day to reflect

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America turned the page toward summer Monday, pausing ever so briefly to honor the men and women who fought and died for our country, while also cherishing the memories of lost loved ones.
Memorial Day has become a traditional day of transition, marking the end of another school year and the beginning of summer. It’s a breath of fresh air for many.
At its core, however, this day is intended to focus our thoughts on the heroic men and women who have worn a military uniform. The day invites us to remember the cost of making America what it is, while also forcing us to acknowledge that the price is not yet paid in full.
In today’s world, perhaps more than any time in history, freedom comes cloaked in uncertainty. News of the day from the Middle East is unsettling, especially for those following ISIS developments who have  loved one’s in harm’s way. Our nation still and always will rely on her sons and daughters to defend her liberty.
While enjoying the annual start-of-summer barbecue, we also pause to give serious thought to military families and the sacrifice they have paid over the years. I have several brothers-in-law who have or are serving in the Air Force, and I can’t thank them enough for the commitment and sacrifice they have made on my behalf. It’s one thing to watch a movie like American Sniper to consider the impact on a soldier’s life, and that of his family, it’s another to know or be related to men and women in uniform personally.
All of us know these good folks, some by blood and so many others through friendship or acquaintance. I had the pleasure recently of interviewing Myron Omel of Aurora, a 98-year-old veteran who once stood guard for General Douglas MacArthur near the end of World War II (See his story on Page 1). He and so many veterans like him have incredible stories to tell, having lost comrades in arms.
Remembering those lost soldiers, as well as saying a prayer and reflecting on the memories of our own lost loved ones, makes this a very special day each year. We know that in the years to come, more brave souls will sacrifice their lives for America. We include them in our thoughts and prayers this Memorial Day.
Kurt Johnson

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