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With the current weather we have been experiencing, it would seem as if we are still at the turn of a new year – much closer to winter than we are to summer. Yet, the month of May is almost behind us. Lest we forget, that May holds a significant day in our nation’s calendar. I am referring to Memorial Day.

As a military community, we are intimately familiar with the symbolism of service, sacrifice and selflessness. Many of us have served in combat zones and have even lost close friends and/or loved ones. There is no doubt that on Monday, 27 May, 2019, we will be taking a moment to reflect on those who are gone, but never forgotten. We will enjoy this weekend because they have afforded us the opportunity to do so.

It is safe to say that everyone would agree with me when I say that just one day out of the year is not enough for commemorating the sacrifices made by those who have perished due to military conflicts. This is the beauty of individual perspective, of emotional and spiritual growth, and of expanding your willingness to embrace those sacrifices and incorporating an element of appreciation into your daily existence. How will you remember this day the rest of the year?

Many patriots made the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our independence, democracy and way-of-life. Memorial Day is for those who are forever lost to us. It is a day that we remember the unselfishness of those who gave their all.

We mourn their loss. We mourn the loss of family members, friends and heroes. We mourn the loss of those who did so much to preserve the ideals on which our country was founded. Their lives are more than just names on a plaque or a memorial. They are sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and husbands. In life, they were strong and vibrant. They loved and were loved, and they are certainly missed and forever remembered.

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those whose life was extinguished in service to our Nation.

Many Americans mark Memorial Day by decorating gravesites with flowers and flags, attending local parades and donning red poppies of remembrance. Many take the opportunity to remember friends and family members who died while serving their Country as well as to honor the Veterans who survived the wars past.

In light of this, I ask each of you to take a moment, and reevaluate how you enjoy Memorial Day. Yes, it is a day off work and all of those other things that usually mark the beginning of summer. However, it is much more. On that day, we remember the American servicemen and servicewomen who protected and continue protecting our way of life that we have all come to love and appreciate. This holiday is not about picnics and a short work week. It is an extremely special day to honor those we have lost.

It is fitting to remember the words of President Kennedy, "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." This Memorial Day, we honor not only men but also women who have given their lives, and we honor them all equally.

If you are available this Monday, I invite you to honor those men and women with me during a traditional Memorial Day observance that is organized and hosted by the Fleet Reserve Association Branch 261, American Legion Post 100 and Boy Scouts of America. The ceremony is at 10 a.m. at the Lemoore Cemetery, located on Lemoore Avenue south of Spruce Avenue.

One final item…. Patriots never really die. They pass their victories, dreams, hopes and spirit onto those who want to champion a cause to defend all that is just and bravely face adversity with the reassurance that there are many more where they came from.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

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All my best,

Captain David James

Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station Lemoore

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