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Editorial: Memorial Day is a time to remember

Cartoon by Tom Stiglich

As we enter the Memorial weekend, the first holiday weekend of the 2014 summer, we hope you travel safe, enjoy the weekend and visit with family and friends.

Come Monday, we encourage all to take time to observe the solemn occasion of Memorial Day. Many often forget about Memorial Day’s true purpose: honoring those men and women who have given their life in service of the United States.

It is an ultimate price they have paid for the freedom of all of us.

There are plenty of Memorial Day services and parades all across west central Minnesota. See Page C1 in today’s newspaper to find an event near you.

In recent years, a lot of attention has been paid to the World War II veteran, members of the “Greatest Generation.” They deserve appreciation for services and their sacrifice.

We all should remember the sacrifice of those who have fallen. The fallen from west central Minnesota killed in the past decade include:

* Pfc. Ryane G. Clark, 22, of New London; died Oct. 4, 2010, in Shekhabad, Afghanistan, serving with the 27th Combat Engineer Battalion (Airborne), 20th Combat Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army;

* Sgt. Kurt E. Kruize, a Hancock graduate and a St. Cloud resident , died April 4, 2010, in a noncombat accident while serving in Iraq with the 367th Engineering Battalion, U.S. Army.

* Spc. James Wertish, 20, of Olivia, died July 16, 2009, in Basrah, Iraq, serving with the 34th Military Police Company of the 34th Infantry Division;

* Sgt. Matthew Ryan Kahler, 29, Granite Falls, died Jan. 26, 2008, in Waygul, Afghanistan, while serving with 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, U.S. Army.

* Sgt. Joshua Schmit, 26, of Willmar, died April 14, 2007, in Fallujah, Iraq, serving with the 1451st Transportation Company, U.S. Army;

* Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Witte, 27, of Beardsley, died Oct. 20, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq, serving with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany;

* Sgt. Kyle R. Miller, 19, of Bird Island and Willmar, died June 29, 2006, in Balad, Iraq, serving with the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery;

* Sgt. Brent W. Koch, 22, of Morgan, died June 16, 2006, in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, serving with E Company, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion of the 135th Infantry;

* Staff Sgt. David Day, 25, of St. Louis Park and Morris, died Feb. 21, 2005, in Baghdad, serving with C Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery;

* Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka, 24, of Appleton, died Feb. 21, 2005, in Baghdad, serving with C Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery;

* 1st Lt. Jason Timmerman, 24, Tracy, died Feb. 21, 2005, in Baghdad, serving with C Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery.

The freedoms we, as Americans, enjoy today were earned and protected by these and others who have given their lives.

To each veteran who has sacrificed his or her life for our freedoms, we thank you and remember.