Our thanks is not enough

Published 7:51 pm Monday, May 27, 2013

Beginning with the first shots of the Revolutionary War and continuing even to this day, men and women have given their lives for our country.

Memorial Day, celebrated yesterday, was the day to remember those who have given that ultimate sacrifice for our country. There several remembrance services held throughout the city that have become tradition for a small group of Suffolk residents.

I’ve been to all three of them throughout the years, and each has its own flavor. I hope you got a chance to attend one or more of them during this long weekend and pay your respects to the many veterans buried at cemeteries around Suffolk.


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The one hosted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy always takes place the Saturday before Memorial Day at Cedar Hill Cemetery, where many Confederate veterans are laid to rest. Its distinctly Southern twist honors the soldiers from the South who fought for what they believed during the Civil War.

On Memorial Day each year, two services take place — one once again at Cedar Hill Cemetery. This service usually features an active-duty or veteran speaker who can remind us all of the extreme sacrifices required of any who serve in the military — and that one last sacrifice that many give.

The service at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery reminds us how many people have given their lives in service to this country. Though not all those buried there died in the line of their military service, the sheer number of gravestones — a number that grows every day of the year — reminds us how many millions of people have given up years or decades of their lives for us.

When the sacrifice is so great that we can literally never repay what was given, it’s hard to know what to do, because anything done is paltry in comparison to the gift. But by the true nature of sacrifice, each of those whom we honor on Memorial Day didn’t do it for the thanks, the recognition or the honor — they just did it because they were called to do so.

So not just on Memorial Day but every day, we should find the time to thank a fallen service member’s family, thank the veterans who were ready to give their lives should it have been required of them, and thank the active-duty service members who signed up to give their lives if that time came.