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Editorial: Memorial Day a time to reflect on our fallen, and how far we’ve come since last year | COMMENTARY

Memorial Day is about reflection, and while we don’t want to take away from its intended focus on honoring fallen military members, it is worth taking a minute to think about where we were this time one year ago and how far we’ve come.

The staples of the unofficial start of summer weren’t there in 2020. Hotels were closed, limiting travel; pools had not yet opened on what is traditionally the first weekend of their season; and gatherings were restricted to 10 or fewer, limiting outdoor cookouts and picnics, and attendance at remembrance ceremonies for fallen veterans.

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Earlier this week, Harford’s COVID positivity rate dipped below 2% for the first time since the early stages of the pandemic. Masking orders have been lifted as more than half of the county’s population has received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine; about 44% are fully vaccinated. Restrictions on travel, businesses and gatherings are no more.

While a forecasted line of storms and cooler temperatures are certain to put a damper on plans for the long Memorial Day weekend, it’s nice to know that many of the freedoms we took for granted, taken from us by a highly contagious virus last year, have largely returned.

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And of course, we wouldn’t have those freedoms in our United States if not for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Commemoration ceremonies will take place in Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace on Monday, recognizing those individuals. This year, those ceremonies have reopened to the public after last year’s modifications and cancelations.

If you can, exercise your freedom to attend, and pay your respects. And even if you cannot, take a moment on Monday to reflect on those who gave their lives for our freedoms.

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