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A small sacrifice of time

This weekend marks the beginning of the summer season, if not exactly the beginning of the season of summer, and there’s a good chance you and your family are planning some recreational kickoff activity.

Memorial Day weekend is a big time for cookouts, for visits to theme parks, for trips to the beach and for family gatherings. But more than that, it is a time for Americans to remember the price of the freedom they enjoy.

We who benefit from the ultimate sacrifice made through the years by so many thousands of brave Americans owe them more than a carefree day in front of a grill, or at the beach.

Suffolk is fortunate to have a variety of Memorial Day observances where residents can honor those sacrifices.

The weekend begins on Friday, when volunteers are invited to the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery, 5310 Milners Road, to help place American flags on the thousands of gravesites at the cemetery. Members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Ruritans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, are set to begin placing flags at 4 p.m. All are welcome to join them and help.

On Saturday, the Suffolk Chapter 173 United Daughters of the Confederacy will have its annual Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. in Cedar Hill Cemetery. Dr. Brian Steel Wills is the guest speaker. He is director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era and professor of history at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

On Monday, the Horton cemetery will host its Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. The guest speaker is Gerald Rhoads, a member of American Legion Post 88, which sponsors the event. Rhoads is an active member of the post and in activities at the veterans’ cemetery.

Also on Monday, back at Cedar Hill Cemetery, the Norman R. Matthews Post 57 of the American Legion will conduct a service at 11 a.m. U.S. Air Force Col. Robert S. Thompson, Joint Staff Cyberspace Environment division chief, will be the guest speaker. Thompson has served 32 years.

And finally, Carver Memorial Cemetery, 2320 E. Washington St., will also hold a Memorial Day ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon Monday. The public is welcome.

This weekend, take a few moments to offer a prayer for the families of America’s fallen heroes and for our great nation. Spend an hour or so at one of Suffolk’s Memorial Day observances. If you know a war widow (or widower), call and say “Thank you” for the sacrifice they also made. Write a note of thanks to a veteran.

In short, pause this weekend amidst your recreational activities and be thankful and mindful of those who helped ensure America’s freedom and strength. Your brief commitment of time is a small sacrifice, compared to that of the men and women this day was designed to honor.