The first and foremost purpose of Memorial Day has been to remember the men and women who have been killed in wartime, making the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard our country.

The holiday was begun in the aftermath of the Civil War, still the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States, which claimed at least 620,000 lives.

It was a day set aside in the spring to decorate the graves of the war dead, and it was first called Decoration Day. Over many years, the name has changed to Memorial Day, a day for remembering, and most families still take a few moments to recall the loved ones who have died, whether in war or peace.

In peacetime, the original meaning of the day can be obscured as most people celebrate it as the beginning of summer with trips to the beach and backyard barbecues. In times of war, a more somber tone affects most people.

Over the past two decades, we lost thousands of soldiers in the Mideast wars. Even during the last two years, more than 100 Americans were killed there. The stories of death in America’s longest wars became so commonplace, many people became numb to the numbers. But the toll has mounted year after year, even unto today.

Now, another war is being fought, though not in distant jungles or deserts. Today, health care workers are doing battle in emergency rooms and intensive care units with the deadly coronavirus.

President Trump has said that all Americans are warriors in this struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, but the people doing the real fighting are the nurses, doctors, EMTs and all the others who place themselves in extreme danger just by going in to do their jobs. The rest of us are just civilians trying to stay out of the line of fire.

The number of health care workers who have been killed by the disease is not yet available, with estimates ranging from dozens into the hundreds. But stories of individual nurses and doctors lost are a regular staple of news shows.

It remains a national disgrace that these brave men and women were sent into this battle without adequate supplies of protective equipment. Many were reduced to wearing masks made by volunteers or even scarves tied across their faces. Even now, one poll showed the supply problem is continuing.

Locally, workers at Frederick Health Hospital told News-Post reporter Heather Mongilio that working during a pandemic was challenging, taxing both physical and mental health. One nurse said it was “scary and sad.”

Most experts expect to see a surge of post-traumatic stress disorder among nurses and doctors who have worked unimaginable hours and days during the worst of the outbreak. They will need our support for a long time after the pandemic fades.

At times like this, it is also good to remember that all who sacrifice for our country do not take up arms. After the 9/11 terror attack, Americans recognized the first responders who died when they rushed into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. Today we acknowledge the sacrifices of those taking care of victims of the pandemic.

Even as we cheer for these other heroes, however, we must remember the men and women of the armed forces who have been killed in America’s wars. They will always remain paramount in the observance of Memorial Day.

Take a few minutes today to think about the hundreds of thousands of men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country.

(32) comments

jsklinelga

Not sure the politics belongs in this Memorial Day editorial but it is true that the health care workers were warriors fighting this latest scourge. And yes we were unprepared just as our military was not prepared for WW2.

But was it a national disgrace? Perhaps that is an opinion not suited for Memorial Day. There is no question the Obama Administration erred by not replenishing the stockpile as had been done by the Bush Administration. a fact check verified this:

"Our rating: True

We rate this claim TRUE because it is supported by our research. There is no indication that the Obama administration took significant steps to replenish the supply of N95 masks in the Strategic National Stockpile after it was depleted from repeated crises. Calls for action came from experts at the time concerned for the country’s ability to respond to future serious pandemics. Such recommendations were, for whatever reason, not heeded.

Our fact-check sources:

Department of Health and Human Services, Strategic National Stockpile: History

Government Accountability Office, 2003 Report on Public Health Capacity

Health Security, Personal Protective Equipment Supply Chain: Lessons Learned from Recent Public Health Emergency Responses

Homeland Security Council, 2005 National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza

National Institute of Health, The Strategic National Stockpile: Origin, Policy Foundations, and Federal Context

2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community

Thank God President Trump acted so decisively in ramping up production.

DickD

You and your draft dodging hero, Trump, disgust me!

jsklinelga

DickD

Disgust is a good word but I'll use inappropriate. I felt the political dig in a tribute to our veterans was inappropriate. Especially using a "Chuck Todd" type misdirect to try to misdirect the blame.

TomWheatley

Count up the paragraphs and/or sentences that are traditional Memorial Day writing and those which are not. Almost half the article is referring to the virus and current events.

gabrielshorn2013

I am wondering, Dick, what is it about jsk's documented statement do you disagree with? Why make it personal...always?

Greg F

President Bone Spurs.....Dodger in Chief.

Hollowed Ground

You really must lay off Faux News.

bosco

How do you know so much about Fox News' programming? Watch it a lot, do you?[ninja]

Greg F

It's watched as "entertainment" only since there's not much of factual value there or that isn't blown way out of proportion or flat out false. Pretty much sums up that you don't watch anything that conflicts with your views.

bosco

Facts, jsk, that'll enrage the never-happy never-Trumpers.[ninja]

Hollowed Ground

Unfortunately for the article writer, veterans don't count on Memorial Day, or any other day for that matter, in the business world. My inbox has filled up every day for two weeks with Memorial Day-themed email, and 100% of it pertains to sales, promotions, and "last chance" clearance offerings. Not a word about veterans, other than perhaps a silly phrase here and there about "honoring" veterans by offering a sale. Not a single business has sent out an email with anything resembling a truly honorable eulogy or any words of praise for that matter about veterans, living or dead. Not one. So as we praise businesses, as we fill their bank accounts with socialist money, as we offer our support for their re-opening, as we patronize them, remember on this Memorial Day that not a single one of these stinking entities has anything nice to say about veterans. Not one.

DickD

But if you have military service some dealers give you extra dollars off. My son bought a car from Koons with an extra $1,000 off because I was with him and had military service. Even without that, Koons normally gives better prices than any local dealership in Frederick County

User1

Maybe your son will join the service and get his own benefits? Thank you for serving.

Hollowed Ground

Did you have to show papers, or just claim to be a veteran?

User1

It gets verified by an app the dealers use called I believe IDMe. It verifies military service thru your social security number. Apple uses the same system for their Apple store for government workers or Veterans.

Greg F

Yes...and being a civilian doesn't count no matter the branch served.

gabrielshorn2013

Well HG, that may be your opinion, to which you are certainly entitled, but it is not true. Many of us visited our veteran parents and relatives in cemeteries around the country to pay honor to them, placing flowers and flags. As for businesses, yes it is often crass commercialism where a company tries to tie their business to a holiday or a crisis. Just look at the commercials for everything under the sun being linked to COVID-19. "We are all together in this time, and while you're thinking about tires, how about coming down to Big Al's Tire Mart (for the car we haven't driven in two months)". At least some TV commercials and newspaper ads honored the fallen, from either wars, or our front-liners in hospitals, grocery stores, etc. Not sure exactly what you were watching or reading.

DeplorableLocalVeteran

The Pentagon is actively planning on living with the coronavirus well into 2021, putting it at risk of angering President Trump as he expresses confidence that the disease is on the wane.

gary4books

Who leaves first?

bosco

I'll be the first to offer a salute to all veterans. [thumbup]

User1

It’s a shame that what started out as a meaningful piece about remembering those who sacrificed their lives for your freedoms turned into a trump bashing piece. And as usual the FNP failed to post the author. Remember those who died and raise a glass in their honor today.

Hollowed Ground

Well, the front line workers really are battling Trump just as much as they are battling the disease. It's hard to tell which battle is harder. I would say the one against Trump. Trump is more volatile and unpredictable. He belittled their biological enemy and failed to give them adequate weapons. And he shows little inclination to provide them with anything better. Besides he greatly aids the enemy by urging people to gather again. If General Bonespurs managed a shooting war like this he would be a traitor plain and simple.

DickD

Trump is totally disgusting! I watched him in the laying of the wreath at Arlington Cemetery today. He doesn't know how to salute right and certainly doesn't know how to do an about face. What bothered me the most is to watch a draft dodger laying the wreath. It is enough to haunt anyone.

bosco

It's a shame, but not a surprise. The never-Trumpers are like a one trick pony and a one page playbook.

Greg F

Hardly one trick pony...Trump is a no-trick dog....firing a captain for protecting his crew...way to take care of the service members.

Dwasserba

An Editor wrote it.

DickD

I was thinking about my relatives that were in WWII. Two of my father's brothers and one of my cousins that was killed on Saipan, June 20, 1944. My father's youngest brother was shell shocked and got malaria on Guadacanal. Quit school before graduation to enlist. An older brother was in Patton's 3rd Army, tank corp. He went through the Battle of the Bulge and Ardennes on into Germany, 168 days of front line combat. He was back in the U.S., out in California, when the atom bomb was dropped and ended the war, before he was shipped out. I have a letter written by him from there.

StupidPaywall

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

paulericson

This was an editorial, there is no single author, if need one it would be the paper's editor or editorial staff.

Hollowed Ground

Never use "all". Major Nidal Hasan and Lt. William Calley were veterans, too.

secpol1970

Wow you can't even give it a rest of all days.

DickD

What you have to realize, bosco, is some of us didn't have a choice. You have these Trump idiots complaining about civil rights - baloney, get drafted and see how many civil rights you have. Or enlst, same thing.

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