Everyone should ask themselves: “What does Memorial Day mean to me?”

To some who haven’t lost a loved one in war, if there are still any left, it’s time to enjoy a three-day weekend, thanks to Lord knows who decided to change the original memorial date of May 30 and reschedule it to fall on a Monday. What’s next, America? Christmas and other inconvenient holidays?

This old veteran remembers Memorial Days of yore when everybody took part in ceremonies throughout America, including huge parades terminating at various cemeteries.

Today, smaller and smaller groups honor this day, save some patriotic organizations and many of us old veterans, who remember World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and of course, our younger veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. We all remember on this day.

Guess it goes with the times that the next generation will forget about the above-mentioned wars, just as we older vets forget about the Civil War, World War I and others fought many, many years ago.

On this Memorial Day, I will do as I do every Memorial Day and visit the graves of veterans I knew and thank them again for their sacrifice, because I know without them, I wouldn’t be here writing and neither would most Americans living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

God bless all those brave men and women who went before us.

Frank “Jack” Slason

Somerville

As our World War II and Korean War veterans pass into history, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your service. During my life, your generation has always been present, and it’s been a constant comfort to know that my country has been in the charge of the Greatest Generation.

Over the last decade, I’ve read the daily obituaries and been amazed at the great number of veterans who have quietly lived in our midst. I’ve read the recounting of their brave and daring exploits as bomber crewmen, fighter pilots, submariners, merchant seamen, soldiers and Marines fighting for our freedom in the greatest conflicts in history. There are stories of their heroism that were unknown to us during their postwar lives, only recounted after their death.

These heroes grew up during the Great Depression. Hard work and sacrifice were expected of them from their youth. This must have been God’s way of preparing them for the great challenge that became their collective destiny.

They worked in our factories and businesses, coached our youth sports teams, ran our local governments and attended to the business of life. Rarely did they trumpet or even mention their military experiences.

Now, I note that the regularity of these obituaries is steadily decreasing, an indicator that there are fewer and fewer of these heroes remaining among us. Our last opportunities to recognize and thank them are upon us.

To all of our World War II and Korean War veterans: Thank you for your determination, valor, morality and hard work. Thank you for making America the greatest force for good the world has ever seen, and for not apologizing for doing so. Thank you for being an inspiration to future generations, and thank you for your selfless service.

Jim Michaud

Wells

For those of you who keep abreast of the news and those who serve us in the many outreaches of the world, you may still recall the many battles that were fought in the ’40s. Perhaps you may try to compare those engagements with today’s “undeclared wars.”

We are bombarded by the media with their renditions of how battles should be fought. They are quick to criticize the proper way to engage the enemy and point a finger at our fighting troops, not knowing the positions that are constantly changing.

Perhaps I will venture to ask: How can one project the outcome of battle behind a desk? I often ask myself — if you truly want to change people’s lives, perhaps we should approach this transformation “with hammer and nails,” a few tractors to till the soil to feed the hungry people. I have never seen someone who had a desire to fight with a full belly!

In closing, I don’t recall being asked to carry a dinner pail to feed the people and a rifle to kill them! We took care of business, then we fed them.

This is one patriot’s view from the past. I fought in two wars.

Fred Collins

Westbrook