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Our View: Take time to honor veterans on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the day that Americans have set aside to remember those who gave their lives so that our country might live.

Americans, who enjoy the peace purchased at the great price of death, should pay respect to all veterans who have made great sacrifices.

We get that opportunity Monday. Each Memorial Day we honor the men and women who fought in past wars and we pay tribute to the brave people fighting for and defending our freedoms.

We still have military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today -- this war helps ensure a safer America while allowing Iraqi citizens and others the opportunity to enjoy freedom. Time will tell if they will take ad­vantage of the opportunity, but it is American men and women clearing the path of freedom.

Since the beginning of the United States, men and women have fought in more than a dozen wars. If just one of those conflicts had ended differently, those of us alive today could be living under terrifyingly different circumstances.

Interestingly, most of our wars did not in­volve conquest. Our men and women put their lives on the line so that other people could enjoy freedom. We didn't defeat Ger­many, Japan or Iraq so that we could hoist the American flag over these countries.

The fact is, Americans have and will con­tinue to pay to rebuild the countries we have defeated -- a unique concept in world history.

American servicemen and women are buried in cemeteries across America and in various places around the world. All died de­fending a way of life -- a way of life too many of us take for granted.

Ultimately, Memorial Day is for the living. It serves to remind all Americans of the debt they owe to those who came before them and the responsibility they bear to pass the na­tional legacy to those who will follow.

We encourage all to attend a Memorial Day observance on Monday. Hudson's tradi­tional ceremony is scheduled at 10:15 a.m. at Willow River Cemetery. Another brief cere­mony is scheduled at St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery at 9 a.m.

The local observances are sponsored by American Legion Post 50 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2115. Think about the American men and women below when you enjoy your holiday on Monday.

Dates, conflict and number who died

1775-1783, Revolutionary War, 4,435

1812-1815, War of 1812, 2,260

1846-1848, Mexican War, 13,283

1861-1865, Civil War, 498,332

1898, Spanish-American, 2,446

1914-1918, World War I, 116,516

1939-1945, World War II, 405,399

1950-1953, Korean Conflict, 36,913

1964-1973, Vietnam Conflict, 58,177

1983, Grenada Invasion, 19

1989, Panama Invasion, 23

1991, Persian Gulf War, 383

1992-1994, Somalia Operation, 43

1994-1996, Haiti Invasion, 4

2001-present, Afghanistan, 2,083

2003-present, Iraq, 4,885