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The barbecue grills will be ablaze this weekend as family and friends come together to celebrate Memorial Day.ย  But the Association of Mature American Citizens urges us to take a moment to reflect on the purpose of this holiday-to pay tribute to those who have served us in the military-especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Dan Weber, AMAC president, notes that there are more than 19 million veterans among us.ย  The Veterans Administration records show that 16 million Americans served their nation during World War II and that fewer than 700,000 of them are still with us today.

“They are a living memorial to the valor and gallantry of all who have served in the military throughout our country’s history.ย  The Second World War was the bloodiest war of all time.ย  One estimate puts the total number of deaths among the Allied Nations at more than 40 million men, women and children, civilians and military, including nearly one million American service men and women.ย  They were part of our country’s Greatest Generation, but we mustn’t lose sight of our fellow countrymen who are putting their lives at risk to protect us right now in far flung places around the world.”

According to the VA a total of more than 150,000 service men and women have lost their lives in all the military campaigns since World War II, including Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars and the continuing Global War on terror.

“Most of us will be out playing with our kids and grandkids this weekend.ย  We’ll probably eat a little too much.ย  We’ll catch up on the latest doings of our neighbors, friends and family members.ย  We’ll be busy celebrating the non-official beginning of summer.ย ย  Is it too much to ask that we take a few minutes to bow our heads in tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for us?ย  And, perhaps, you may want to say a little prayer for the safety of those who are in service today,” Weber suggested.

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