Eagle editorial: Show gratitude

Correction: This editorial includes inaccurate information about the World War II Memorial in Veterans Memorial Park. The commemorative bricks are sold out.

On Memorial Day, many of us pay homage to loved ones we’ve lost to injury, illness and time, decorating their graves with spring flowers and visiting them in our memories. But the holiday’s reason for being is our nation’s war dead, making the somber occasion a precious annual opportunity to reflect on their service and honor their sacrifice.

Here are a few ways to show respect and gratitude on this important day and otherwise:

•  Attend an area Memorial Day observance. Wichita’s events include 11 a.m. ceremonies at Resthaven Mortuary and Cemetery, Lakeview Cemetery and Funeral Home, and Greenwood Cemetery.

•  Visit Veterans Memorial Park, a community jewel on the newly named Veterans Parkway linking Central and Second. Now the site of 15 memorials to veterans of multiple wars, the park not only stands in quiet tribute to those who served and died but as testament to the tenacity of the volunteers who’ve worked so hard to ensure that Wichita properly and permanently honors these warriors. It’s a special place that needs to be better known and appreciated, and will be the site of a program at 8 a.m. Monday.

•  Make a donation to support the Operation Freedom Memorial to be constructed in Veterans Memorial Park. Meant to honor the Kansans in the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and acts of terrorism, the project has raised $200,000 and needs another $20,000 to start building. Go to www.ofm-ks.com, or send a check to Operation Freedom Memorial Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 782414, Wichita, KS 67278.

•  Buy one of the last commemorative bricks for Veterans Memorial Park’s World War II Memorial, which was dedicated in November 2011. Go to www.wichitaworldwariimemorial.com, or send a check for $100 made payable to Operation Kilroy, P.O. Box 4754, Wichita, KS 67204.

•  Help finish the American Revolutionary War Memorial, also in Veterans Memorial Park. Go to www.amrevwm.com, or send a donation to American Revolutionary War Memorial Inc., P.O. Box 75417, Wichita, KS 67275-5417.

By showing support for local memorials and events that honor the fallen, we can keep their selflessness and sacrifice in defense of liberty at the forefront not only of our minds but also of our community.

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman