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Veterans View: Always remember those who sacrificed for our country | COMMENTARY

In a few short weeks, an important and somber day will be upon us, Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day is often noted as the unofficial start of summer, but as we know, it is so much more than this.

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Soon, throughout our communities you will begin to see symbols of the brave men and women who served our country to defend our way of life and all our many liberties. In many of our towns, American flags will appear more often, light posts will be adorned with remembrances of our nation’s heroes, and the final resting places of these service members will be visited, and flags placed to recognize their sacrifices. Thank you to those who Always Remember and will never forget our men and women of the military who fought for our freedoms.

As an American who comes from a lineage of military service, having served myself and having a daughter who served, this year is more humbling and concerning than most. Across our nation, we have seen a divide in our country. No matter what your political affiliation, sex, race, gender or any other demographic, at the root, we are Americans. Differences are what make our country unique; how we deal with the differences are what define us.

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I recall my times in the Marine Corps and when in Iraq. I didn’t care who was next to me, so long as it was one of my brother or sister Marines. There is a saying in the Corps, we are not black, white or any other color — we are all green, just different shades. The military forges a bond similar to, if not greater than, true blood. This is why most veterans stick together, share their stories, and always support each other.

As Americans, we need to Always Remember the sacrifices that our fellow Americans made — those who wore the uniform, and the families which supported them. While this year many will not gather during local parades or even family cookouts, as we did not too long ago, I hope and pray that everyone hears the church bells ring, sees the flags waving in the green fields of our cemeteries, and regains a sense of national pride.

On Memorial Day, visit a local cemetery, look up a local hero, or recall a family member or friend who gave their all and say their name, so they are Always Remembered. If you have children, talk to them about the true meaning of Memorial Day; read some educational historical stories or watch a documentary on an important part of our history. It doesn’t take much time to honor those who have so bravely served our country. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day there is a National Moment of Remembrance. Take a quick break from whatever you are doing, mowing the lawn or making a meal, and “just Remember.”

For me, I will always remember Steven “Fish” Fuschini. A brother Marine, with whom I served, who always had a smile, told a joke and did anything for anyone. He left behind a little girl who won’t be raised with her father. I will always remember Fish as a hero of our country.

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Alex Whitney is a veteran of the US Marine Corps.

On the first Tuesday of each month, the Times publishes as its editorial the Veterans View, an opportunity to draw attention to veterans’ issues as well as to inform and educate the community and all veterans about the multitude of available services.

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