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National Guard soldiers returning to Willmar on Saturday after 10-month deployment

Editorial: Memorial Day is time for all to remember - Thank you for your service, sacrifice

Memorial Day weekend has arrived for 2009, the traditional and unofficial start of Minnesota's summer. It is also a time to remember the fallen veterans of America's past and current wars.

Every year since 1868, families and communities have decorated the graves and memories of fallen veterans who died in the service of the United States.

Their great sacrifice is always worthy of remembrance.

West central Minnesota has a number of servicemen who have died in recent years:

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Kahler of Granite Falls killed Jan. 26, 2008, while serving in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joshua Schmit of Willmar killed April 14, 2007, serving in Iraq.

Sgt. Kyle Miller of Willmar killed June 29, 2006, serving in Iraq.

Sgt. Brent W. Koch of Morton killed June 16, 2006, serving in Iraq.

Sgt. Jesse Lhotka of Appleton killed Feb. 21, 2005, serving in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. David Day of Morris killed Feb. 21, 2005, serving in Iraq.

1st Lt. Jason Timmerman of Tracy killed Feb. 21, 2005, serving in Iraq.

West central Minnesotans have served and died in the service of America since the early 1860s, up to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the six men listed above and all the others from the region who have sacrificed their lives in the service of America.

We encourage you -- out of respect and remembrance -- to attend the Memorial Day service in your community. If you cannot, take a moment to join the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. Monday, local time.

Thank you to all veterans for your service and our freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis.

To all the veterans who have sacrificed their lives and to their families, we remember.

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