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Editorial: Thank all serving and protecting over this long weekend

America awoke Monday to the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire near Prescott, Ariz.

The dead firefighters were all members of the Prescott Fire Department’s elite Granite Mountain Hotshots team. They died when their position was overcome by flames Sunday when the Yarnell Hill Fire changed direction.

All of America sympathizes with the lost firefighters, their families, the Prescott Fire Department and its community for their loss.

It is at times like this that we all need to stop and think of all those fellow citizens who volunteer and are employed in public safety roles across the nation.

Today America is in the midst of this long Fourth of July weekend, which is a holiday weekend celebration for many. However, many members of law enforcement, fire departments and emergency response personnel are either on duty or on call during this long holiday weekend.

Local police, sheriff departments and Minnesota State Patrol officers are on duty throughout west central Minnesota patrolling and providing assistance as needed.

With the popularity of fireworks this holiday weekend, fire departments are on call and at the ready for fire fighting throughout the region.

Emergency response personnel are available throughout the region to respond to all types of incidents, from injuries to health emergencies to traffic or boating accidents.

And there are Minnesotans serving on the fire lines out west as the western U.S. continues under dry and hot conditions.

All of these members of our communities are on duty or on call this week, so we can relax and enjoy this Fourth of July weekend. The least we can do is say thank you.