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As we prepare to observe Memorial Day, perhaps this year we’ll be less distracted by backyard barbecues and beer and give the day the somber consideration it deserves.
For 244 years Americans have sacrificed to defend our country, and our allies. Some have done so voluntarily, recognizing the threat to our freedom and stepping up. Some have done so because they were drafted into service, willingly or not. Every soldier who lost his or her life in one of our innumerable wars and conflicts set aside his or her personal “civil liberties” and “rights” for the sake of the country they called home, to win a war against a tangible enemy.
Today we face an intangible enemy that has invaded our shores and we’ve all been called to arms. This enemy isn’t fought with guns and tanks, though. This enemy is fought with good hand hygiene, appropriate social distancing, not gathering in groups, the use of face masks, being diligent to self-isolate if you have symptoms of illness, and making some inconvenient sacrifices to the ways we amuse ourselves, the way we spend our time, and the way we go about our daily lives.
We are historically a nation that has always stepped up for the greater good. During both World Wars Americans endured government rationing so “our boys” fighting on foreign soil would have needed supplies. After 9/11 we grumbled our way through TSA pat-downs and luggage searches (Word of advice: never travel with 1-pound hand weights. They look very suspicious on an X-ray.) and we’ve suffered the humiliation of setting off the metal detector, uncertain what we forgot to take out of our pockets.
Why did we accept these infringements on our personal freedoms? Why didn’t we rise up and have organized protests about having to take our shoes off at the airport? Perhaps because our fear of being trapped in a hijacked airplane was greater than our need to rebel against being told to do something we didn’t like.
Now we have a new enemy, and instead of fighting with each other and playing politics, we need to take up the weapons we have at hand and do battle. What weapons, you ask? Not political posturing (way too many would-be politicians are manipulating this into a campaign whistlestop), not spouting misinformation, and not being judgmental and rude to the person wearing a mask (or asking you to wear one so their business can stay in compliance with the guidelines they’ve been given).
This Saturday the Rangely High School Class of 2020 will celebrate commencement exercises. This week we have a special section with their senior pictures and the information we were able to obtain from the school. Next week we hope to have a list of their awards and scholarships.
Meeker High School’s graduation section will be handed out at the drive-in graduation ceremony on June 6 (deadline is this Friday for parent or business ads), and will be inserted into the paper the following Thursday, June 11.
By NIKI TURNER