Let us never forget their sacrifice
To the Editor:
For the first time in more than 20 years, I had a chance to attend a Memorial Day parade.
My wife, Annette, and I were visiting our daughters in the Bangor area to celebrate the birthday of our youngest and at the same time we wanted to watch our soon to be granddaughter and my other daughter march in the Bangor Memorial Day parade.
I don't know why I never made the time to attend these events in the past, and after having watched this year's parade, I realized that I had forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day and why it is very important. And I realized that I had done very little to honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms. And I had not done enough to acknowledge those veterans living among us who deserve a sincere thank you for all they have done to preserve our way of life.
It was a well attended parade as the streets were lined with observers. The World War II veterans were the first in line and when they approached, the parade observers began to applaud. Many of these soldiers were now walking with canes but they held their heads high as they marched and acknowledged the applause from the crowd with smiles and waves. And the applause did not subside when they passed but it continued unabated as the Korean War veterans, the Vietnam War veterans and the veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars marched passed.
The applause from the parade observers was a simple gesture of "thank you" to those soldiers and their fallen comrades, but it packed a powerful message. For me, it was a moving experience because I realized that for all these years I did not make the time to appreciate these special men and women.
So, I am one of those Americans who had forgotten what these brave soldiers had done for our country and for me. I had taken my freedoms for granted and maybe I assumed that those freedoms would always be there. But freedom is not free. And the soldiers who marched in this Memorial Day parade and in parades across the country know the price they and their fallen brothers and sisters had to pay to preserve our freedom.
It is with solemn gratitude that I vow to never forget their sacrifice and I hope you will join me in always remembering why we celebrate Memorial Day. I have never served in the armes forces, yet I hope that all the veterans who read this letter accept my humble salute as a sign of respect and honor for everything they have done for our country. May the good Lord bless you and keep you.
Andre St. Pierre,
Proud to be an American