We marked Memorial Day on Monday, honoring all those who died in military service to our nation. It was a holiday unlike past years, however. Gone were the community-wide parades and elaborate ceremonies.
Gatherings were limited to 10 or fewer people, by order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. We weren’t entirely sure any ceremonies would be allowed until the governor gave the final word on May 19.
We hope everyone took some time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday. Nearly 2.9 million Americans have died in battle since the Revolutionary War was fought from 1775 to 1783.
Leaving for war is any citizen’s highest form of service to the nation. He or she must be willing and ready to die. When the bullets and mortars fly, soldiers run toward them, not away from them, if they expect to win.
Right now, our nation is engaged in a war of a different sort, battling an unseen enemy, a viral invader that ravages many, while, strangely, leaving others untouched. Our warriors are the doctors, nurses, EMTs, police officers and firefighters in the hospitals and in the communities that have become our new front lines. The coronavirus has been an unrelenting foe, but this fight must continue, and we must win it. We have no choice.
Winning requires sacrifice on the part of us all. Some will give more than others. Some will even give their lives in service to others.
During World War II, when the fate of the nation and world were at stake, people asked what they could do for their country. Now we find ourselves facing a hostile aggressor that has attacked around the globe. The question each of us must ask is, what can we do to help?
That might mean holding a fundraiser, volunteering for or donating to a food pantry, making personal protective equipment for others or just wearing a mask in public. Whatever the case, even though so many of us are asked to stay at home, we are all in this fight together.