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Editiorial: Remembrance and safety are key for this weekend

Friday is the start of the traditional Memorial Day holiday weekend. It is always a memorable weekend for families and communities. The key is to make those days memorable for the right reasons.

Remember:

The most important thing is to remember the original purpose of Memorial Day. It is a day to remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country - the United States of America.

They are buried in towns like Willmar, Montevideo and across our region and Minnesota. They have fought from the Civil War battlefields and the Minnesota prairies of the 1860s to the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq in this century.

It is important that we remember their sacrifice which helped make our country strong and free. Their service allows you the freedom to do whatever you want on this holiday weekend.

The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute.

Travel:

One million more travelers will take to the roads, skies, rails and water for this weekend than they did last year. This traveler number will be the highest volume since 2005, according to AAA.

More than 39 million Americans will be driving 50 miles or more this weekend to their lake cabin, family or friends.

So please drive safely and defensively.

Water:

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is often the first time on or in the water for many families. It is important to practice safety and be water smart.

Here are a few tips:

• Make sure everyone in the family learns to swim well.

• Supervise your children in or near the water.

• Don't pack the life jacket, wear it when in the boat.

• Make sure to have a designated driver in your boat.

• Put your cell phone away when you are on or near the water.

Roads:

The Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads.

During the 100-day span over the last five years, Minnesota has averaged 1.29 traffic deaths a day. At a minimum, we can expect more than four traffics death this weekend alone.

Driver behavior remains a significant factor in motor vehicle crashes in Minnesota. The top four contributing factors are speed, distraction, lack of seatbelt use and drunk driving.

Enforcement:

A key point to remember this weekend is that state troopers, deputies and officers will be working overtime. They will be looking for those drivers speeding, texting, not buckling up and commiting other infractions.

Law enforcement wants to make sure your family and you all get home safety on Monday evening.

Construction:

There are a number of work zones across the state as summer road construction is in full swing. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is suspending work on most of the projects for the holiday weekend. The work zones will still be in place and drivers will still encounter bypasses, lane closures and detours.

In west central Minnesota, specific projects include a detour on state Highway 4 near Cosmos, a detour on state Highway 22 near Litchfield and a closure on U.S. Highway 71 near Elrosa.

Enjoy:

We all want your holiday weekend to be memorable and fun for you and your family. So please be safe, be smart and have a great weekend.

This editorial is the opinion of the West Central Tribune's Editorial Board of publisher Steve Ammermann and editor Kelly Boldan.

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