Staff Sgt. Brandon Silk, 25, of Orono died June 21, 2010, from injuries he suffered in a hard helicopter landing in Afghanistan. He was a Black Hawk crew chief and a member of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, on his fourth tour of duty since 2003. He enlisted shortly after graduating from Orono High School.

Army Pvt. Buddy McLane, 24, of Mexico, was killed by enemy fire on Nov. 29 in Afghanistan, where he was serving as a cavalry scout, also with the 101st Airborne. He was on his first tour, which began after a 30-day leave, during which he held his baby son, Elwin, for the first time.

Cpl. Andrew Hutchins, 20, of New Portland, a military police officer assigned to the Army’s 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne, was shot by insurgents on Nov. 8, while posted on a tower, guarding a military base in Khost Province, Afghanistan. He was a 2008 graduate of Carrabec High School who enjoyed bird hunting, fly fishing and basketball.

Every year, on the last Monday in May, Americans pause to pay respect to the men and women who have died while serving their nation in the military. And every year, it seems the list of those who are honored grows longer. That is true of these Maine men, whose names will be among those added to the list in towns all over the state.

The war in Afghanistan is now in its 10th year. The war in Iraq, although winding down, still claims American lives seven years after it began. We are so used to them, the conflicts rarely make the news these days, unless it’s the local press announcing the death of a young neighbor.

No reminder is needed about the high stakes involved for people in towns like Orono, Mexico or New Portland, or for the families and friends of men like Silk, McLane and Hutchins, or those of the men and women stationed overseas.

But many in our communities are insulated from the tragic consequences of these smoldering wars and need a day like today to remind them to think about them.

So if you are at a town parade or celebration today honoring the fallen of previous generations, don’t forget about the young people who are serving now, especially those who heard the call and gave their lives.